A/N: Thanks for the reviews, curious ladies and gentle hatters! This is a very heartfelt chapter and one in which I though needed to be explored. I know some of my fans want some more action and I swear to you that the next chapter will have all that and more. I can't meet everyone's needs, now can I?

Now, this chapter is the longest I've written, and is quite a piece of work on its own. I do not want to give away any details, so I'll let you find out the rest!

A very, very merry "Thank you!" shout out to my Beta, islay12, who edited this chapter for me. You rock! : )

By the way, italics are direct thoughts and dreams.

Happy Unbirthday to all! Except to those who are reading my story on your birthday, to which if you ask for a gift, I already gave you one (P.S. It's what you're reading right now!) XD

Chapter 9: Extreme

"Is it true that you two are, indeed, engaged to be married?" asked an urgent Mrs. Kingsleigh. Her brilliant blue eyes stared directly into eyes of the same color in her daughter's face. She had supposed Alice and the man to be on friendly terms, for he had saved her life and taken her in, yet she was shocked to hear the servants' talk of a supposed engagement between the two, especially if this was indeed true. If it was, the woman would certainly have a heart attack, for not only was the man not what she herself thought of proper suitability, but her daughter had not told her a word of this.

Alice was speechless. She had not expected such a question thrown to her at this time in her life, yet she could speculate how her mother came to ask her such a thing. She, herself had heard a few servants mumble such rumors, yet she was sure her mother could see through them all and not bother herself with such trifling conversations. However, Alice suspected that it was her disappearance for so long that aided with her mother's worry; forming into such a ridiculous question. Marry Hatter? Well, wouldn't that be something? Something, not so bad...

"Mother, where did hear this from?" asked Alice, trying to prove her theories of the question's origin. She hadn't looked to Hatter to gauge his response to this; however she guessed his face to be as shocked as her own.

"Never mind, Alice, just tell me: are you and Mr. Lowbottom engaged?" she asked again, frustrated at the girl's denial. She saw her eldest daughter emerge from the west wing, and stop in surprise at the event that was occurring in the middle of the hallway.

"Mother, this is ridiculous! I've only just come home from being away for two months and this is how you choose to speak to me, your youngest daughter, through silly rumors and crazy accusations?" said Alice, half angry and half laughing at the situation. She'd always known her mother to be a bit judgmental, yet at this level, she had yet to be seen. She glanced quickly to Hatter who still had his arm linked in hers. His face resembled hers in shock. However, the look in his eyes revealed his mind was brewing something.

"Alice, if you don't tell me this instant if this is true, I will send him away. For good." She threatened, her eyes fierce and determined to discover the truth, however it may be.

"It is true Mrs. Kingsleigh, I have asked for your daughter's hand," said Hatter suddenly, stepping in front of her, his hand still holding Alice's tightly. He breathed in deeply and looked down at the woman, sending a serious affirmation of his answer into those lovely blue eyes he grew to adore. Despite what Alice wanted, Hatter believed that this was the best thing to do in the situation, as they would be returning to Underland hopefully very soon, and they needed to have a place with a large enough looking glass, just in case the Queen tried to contact them again. Without a looking glass, they were doomed in connection to Underland.

Alice chocked on her lack of air, as she had not expected Hatter to interfere in her conversation with her mother. Why did he tell her that?! Now, who knows what will happen! She turned instantly to see his face and never saw a more determined Hatter; his face looked just as intense as when he fought that nasty Knave of Hearts on Frabjous Day. She looked to her mother whose mouth dropped nearly to the floor.

"Wha-what? So this is true? I-I," Mrs. Kingsleigh stuttered madly, then reached out for her daughter before her eyes rolled over and she dropped to the ground, landing on her side, her blond hair coming undone out of it's strict position. Both Hatter and Margaret pounced forward in an attempt to catch her falling, however they were too late. Hatter checked the woman's vitals and dubbed her alive, as Margaret called for a servant to come quickly.

As a group of helpers came in and examined the woman, Alice stared blankly at the situation, still in shock at her mother's question, Hatter's answer, and her mother's fall. This was all too much to take in for the girl. She was beginning to get used to the topsy turvy life in Wonderland, however, when her own world became upside down, she didn't know how to handle it. She saw Hatter shout to the servants to get her some water and fan her down, his distress evident in his eyes as he carried the woman to her quarters in a hurry. Alice shook herself out of her daze and followed the man, watching him gently place her mother on her giant bed, pushing the hair out of her tired face and turning to Alice herself. He looked ever so concerned. Grabbing her hand in his own and bringing it to his mouth, he whispered, "She will be fine, love, she will be fine". It was the first time he ever called her something like that and he hadn't noticed. Alice continued to look up at him, until she heard one of the servants say, "She's coming to."

Mrs. Kingsleigh opened her eyes carefully, blinking a few times to get a clear picture in her sight, and the first thing she saw was her daughter in the arms of that Garrett Lowbottom, his hand rubbing her back to comfort her, and kissing her forehead. Instead of becoming angry or upset, she simply opened her mouth in awe as she heard a whisper from her left ear. A very familiar voice said, "The best people are mad, Helen," and then stopped speaking as if he was never there.

Helen Kingsleigh never believed in ghosts or hearing voices, but she knew in the very depth of her core that it was Charles speaking to her, reminding her of their life together. The woman's eyes began to brim over with tears as the servants fussed over her, placing a cool cloth on her forehead and insisting her to drink some water. However she hear none of it, because her ears were listening intently to the Hatter's comforting words that he whispered into her daughter's ear. Then she closed her eyes and laid her head back, feeling the need to rest overwhelm her once more.

Alice had not seen her mother's face when the woman awoke, for her own was buried in Hatter's chest; her crying began after seeing her mother look so terrible. It reminded her of when her father died, leaving the three ladies all alone for many years; and Alice had hoped that this misunderstanding had not caused her mother's death. She was certainly glad to have Hatter to hold onto, for she could not hold her own body up with shaky legs. She noticed that her brother-in-law, Lowell, had recently come into the room and grabbed onto Margaret tightly, trying to comfort her in the same matter as Hatter did. From the look of it, she saw love leech out of his dark eyes, despite his indiscretions; it appeared he did love her sister.

An older man entered the room, with a stethoscope around his neck and quickly introduced himself as Doctor Gunther. Then went straight to the woman's bedside and began checking her vitals. After a few minutes he turned to the servants, who said that Hatter was the one to bring her to her bed.

"Sir, I believe you brought Mrs. Kingsleigh here to rest. Can you tell me what happened that caused her to faint?" he asked, his thick British accent was a bit hard to understand in his rushed manner.

"Yes, we were talking about a possible engagement between myself and Miss Kingsleigh here, and then when I told her it was true, she could hardly say a word and fell to the ground, as if she had no feet at all to support herself!" exclaimed Hatter, still surprised that the woman actually fainted. Though Alice looked scarily similar to her mother, she had not the fainting quality. He continued to hold onto Alice while speaking to the doctor.

"Hmm, I suppose any mother would faint as well," he chuckled, which seemed a rather mad thing to do at the moment; so much so that even Hatter looked to the man in question. "It seems it was purely shock that got the best of her. All she needs is a bit of rest. Now, I suggest you two figure out how to plan your marriage without scaring the lady any more, hmm?" He joked once more before telling a female servant to fetch him if anything serious occurred again before scurrying out the door.

Once the doctor left, the servants insisted they leave the room to let the madam sleep, and they agreed. Hatter held Alice's hand and took her out to the garden, where they could get some fresh air and speak freely. She was still a bit distraught, but had stopped her tears from falling. Hatter looked down at the beautiful girl with a wet face and smoothed out her blond hair from sticking to her forehead. She responded by looking up and meeting his blue-green eyes.

"I feel so bad, Hatter. I thought she was gone. I-I didn't know if I could take losing another parent," she said sadly, wiping her wet face with the sleeve of her yellow dress. Hatter merely nodded his orange head and waited for the girl to continue.

"Even though she never quite understands my curious nature, I will always love my mother. And for her to act in such a, uh, crazy manner, I don't know." she confessed, biting her lip.

"Alice, I know what it is like to lose a parent, and I lost the two most wonderfully mad people in the entire realm of Underland. Believe me, it's hard. But you are lucky, you see; you've got a mother that cares about you so much that she questions the man you're supposedly engaged to because she wants only the best for her daughter. And you've got a sister (one with her petticoats all pulled up too tight if you ask me) but a sister all the same. I have no one," he said sadly, trying to comfort the girl, although this was also very hard on him, especially because he saw flashes of fire and destruction that left only ruins remaining of his family's village.

Alice responded to this by placing a hand on his pale cheek, causing his to open and meet her eyes. "Hatta, you're not alone. You have many people that love you and care about you--March Hare, Chessure, Mallymkum, Queen Mirana, Tweedles, and I bet even Nivens cares about you as well," she assured the sad hatter, whose eyes never left her own. "Even I care," she spoke with her voice below a whisper as the lovely pink of his lips suddenly caught her current attention.

Hatter saw Alice move slowly in to meet his face as she rose on her tippy toes. He had awaited this moment for quite sometime, and he closed his eyes in anticipation of their lips meeting.

"Alice! Oh, Aly, where are you? Your mother is awake again!" shouted Cady from the estate's back door. Although the two could not see the maid, they immediately stopped their movements and fell down from their sweet high, backing away slightly from each other and turning in the direction of Cady's voice, avoiding eye contact with one another altogether. Alice began first, with Hatter following right behind.

What in the world was that? Had I not heard Cady's voice, Hatter and I would have kissed just then! This is all so confusing. Alice could not understand what was going on in her own mind and glanced behind her, watching Hatter look up momentarily to meet her gaze. She wondered what was going on in his mind.

Oh, fierce fire fighting fish sticks! How is it every time Alice and I are together, something awkward happens and...? Oh, well, I think I need some more tea! Hatter had a hard time processing the events that had just occurred and was quite dreading this talk with Alice's mother over their engagement. It was a rather odd thing to do, since the two weren't actually engaged, so he expected this to be a very queer conversation. He suspected Alice was upset at him for telling her mother that they were engaged, but she didn't understand the need for it at this moment. Hopefully he could have more time to better explain this all to her.

Cady saw the two enter from the garden and quickly urged them to follow her to the Madam's room. Once inside, she took her leave, but not without first peeking a brown eye through the keyhole of the door. She saw Hatter remain standing near the door, his lacy hat in his hands as he scratched his orange hair. Alice went to kneel next to her mother's bedside and grab the woman's hand, awaiting what she would say.

"Alice, I am very disappointed in you," she began hoarsely, clearing her throat before she continued. "That you neglected to tell me of your engagement, forcing me to figure it out myself," she said, staring from her daughter's face to that of Mr. Lowbottom's.

Alice nodded her head before she spoke. "I am so sorry, Mother. I just… didn't know how to tell you," She said unsure how to go about this lie.

Her mother lifted her chin a bit then asked Mr. Lowbottom to come to her side, in which he cautiously did so. She held her hand out for him to take and then she put his hand over Alice's, placing her own over theirs. They looked from her to each other in confusion, for they had not expected this whatsoever.

"Garrett, at first I believed you to be a terrible match for my Alice, and I had no particular liking to you at all. However, watching the way you comforted my daughter today, and over the last two months when she knew not herself, I realized something." She said intently, her tone switching from dislike to admiration.

"That you are everything she needs, and I would be glad to allow you to have her hand in marriage," she finished, smiling a tired grin to the strange hatter, whose face brightened instantly.

Hatter felt like a new man, as the woman he loved could finally be his because he had graciously received permission from her mother. However, there was one big issue in the matter; he had not actually proposed to Alice, let alone told her of his true feelings. He was sure she liked him, for they had nearly kissed outside in the garden, yet he had to know for sure before he got his hopes up. It was quite possibly the strangest situation he had ever been in; even weirder than waking up in bed with March Hare one night when the two had one too many cups of tea.

Alice couldn't believe this change in her mother, for she was not someone who gave her blessings easily, especially to a man who was but a hatter. Yet, she did! It was quite a shame that Hatter hadn't actually proposed to her, for then this would be a splendid ending to a fairytale in a book; instead, it only complicated a friendship in the midst of chaos, and possible destruction of the world she considered as her second home.

Hatter looked from Mrs. Kingsleigh to Alice then spoke happily, "Thank you Mrs. Kingsleigh, I promise that I shall provide your daughter with everything in world she desires." Then the Hatter kissed the woman's hands, as well as his apparent fiancée's hands.

The elder woman smiled contently and looked to her daughter. "Alice, tell your sister to help you plan everything out. We'll have only the best for you my dear. I just wish your father could have been here for this," she said sadly, her eyes closing for a moment before looking back to Alice's face.

"Yes Mother, but I'm not sure when we want to, err, get married," she said hesitantly, looking to Hatter for some help. He saw this look and knew not exactly what to say. "Alice and I have yet to discuss everything," he blurted, hoping that was the response she desired.

"Oh, it is fine, son," Mrs. Kingsleigh smiled briefly at the orange haired man. "We shall have it here, and it shall be a fine wedding! I am thinking maybe by Saturday, we can get everything in order," she said confidently, joyful that her daughter will finally marry.

Alice and Hatter looked to each other in distress, both pairs of eyes popping out from their skulls and the faint tint of pink appeared upon their cheeks. "Really, Mother, that is a bit soon..." Alice said instantly, hoping to get her mother to wait a bit longer, long enough for them to leave this world and avoid this awkward exchange, even if she herself was unsure about how she felt.

"No, no, Saturday it is! Now, off you two, you have but a few days to prepare," she insisted, watching the nervous couple walking to the door, both biting their lips.

When Cady saw them near the door, she ran down the hall, hoping that they didn't suspect her of watching the whole scene. She observed the pair to walk down the hall, throwing odd glances to each other, but not speaking a word. Deciding she had seen enough, Cady went back to the kitchen, to gather plates for the table settings.

Hatter was unsure what to tell Alice, as she did not appear too happy about the arrangement, yet he didn't sense a dislike either. It was as if she was numb, and confused about everything, just as he was. If the two did get married in a few days, he wanted it to be real, not just a hoax. He just had to figure out how to tell her of his feelings.

Alice stared blankly at the deserted hallway, avoiding Hatter's eyes entirely, as she was terribly confused at the situation. She was sure that what she felt for Hatter was indeed love, however, she did not want to marry him under false pretenses because she thought it would mean nothing. And, if a life with Hatter was what she wanted, then it would have to begin a different way.

They continued down the hallway in silence, eventually entering the dining room, seeing the table decorated with a golden glow, a large bird on the table, along with sides of greens and apples, and sauces that smelled simply delicious. Margaret was seated in her same chair, yet her husband sat at the head of the table. They looked to the couple entering the room and waited for them to sit before beginning to serve themselves. Alice saw that Margaret's eyes flickered back and forth from hers and Hatter's, wondering what her mother had told them.

Hatter however, felt the odd one in the bunch as he had never seen food like this before, especially a dead and baked bird about the table. Never in Wonderland would you see anyone eat a bird. It was just unheard of! They only ate what the land had provided them with, which were vruits and fregetables that grew off the trees. Yes, he felt this to be a strange dinner, yet he did not want to be rude, so when the waiter asked him how much meat he wanted, he nodded, "Just a bit, I'm not too hungry," gulping nervously as the chunk of meat plopped onto his plate. He watched in great disgust the man at the head of the table rip through the meat as if it was a delicious chocolate cake or blueberry scone. He looked away immediately, and asked the waiter for some tea, cream, and sugar. He was in much need of a quick fix of madness, as he sung one of his favorite songs in his head, "a pinch of sweet is but a treat, but the more you add shall make you mad!".

Alice looked away from her sister for a moment and watched Hatter interact with his food, the apparent look of disgust on his face as he peered at the food and to Lowell's awful eating habits; really, was it so hard to chew with your mouth closed, honestly! Turning to Hatter, She saw him nod his head happily, and she suspected he was singing in his head, something he did when he needed to calm down. Alice herself wished she could silently sing with him as well, remembering the song that went like this, "Twinkle, twinkle little bat, how I wonder where you're at!", then her once upset face was replaced with a playful grin, one the Hatter saw and returned happily.

Margaret watched the two closely, seeing the way they communicated without words and knew her suspicions were correct. Alice was getting married, and to this hatter fellow. Although she wanted to be happy for her sister, she felt a concern for Garrett's ability to provide for her, as he was already caring for his sister; Mirana it was? Could she have a decent life with him? And what of their wedding?

"Alice, what did Mother tell you?" Margaret asked, not longer able to keep her mouth closed about the whole thing. Her husband took a break from his obnoxious chewing and stared at the girl and her supposed fiancé.

Alice dropped her fork, and played with the napkin in her lap, gathering up all that had happened in her mind before speaking. "She gave Garrett her blessing, and we are soon to be married," she said, a bit less excited than Margaret had hoped, it seemed she had a disliking to what was said earlier. Garrett had looked to his bride-to-be in concern, his once grin was replaced with pursed lips.

"Oh, well, that's great news! When is the wedding?" she asked, hoping she would have enough time to help her sister in the preparations.

Alice looked to Hatter and told him to reply with her eyes, and when he understood, he said, "Saturday," then reached beneath the table to grasped Alice's hand in his. To this, Margaret spit up a bit of her drink, using her napkin to wipe her face, "Excuse me, but did you say Saturday? That means we only have three days to plan!" she exclaimed, and Alice looked to her sister and nodded, saying, "Yes, Mother thought the sooner the better I suppose," and went back to playing with her salad, her hand still holding Hatter's.

"Well, then, tomorrow we shall begin planning, and we shall have you fitted for a dress," she said, then began blabbing about all the things Alice needed to do to prepare for her marriage, some of which caught Hatter's specific attention, causing Alice to blush, especially when Lowell commented on their wedding night.

After the two could endure no more torture, they excused themselves for bed, and met in the hallway, no longer thinking of the ceremony as much as the all the preparations that were needed. Hatter walked to Alice's left as always, but this time he sought her hand, enclosing it in his own. The gesture made her smile, and then she looked away, feeling the blush of her cheeks rise. When they came to his door, he wished her a good night, and then entered his room, leaving Alice alone in the hallway with her own thoughts.

She walked slowly to her room, searched for her nightgown and found a blue one with a white bow on each sleeve. She quickly removed her clothing and threw on the gown, ignoring the use of a slip, liking the way only a thin sheet of material covered her body. Her room felt stuffier than usual, so she went to the window and opened it, enjoying the cool night breeze that came into the room. Once she did this, she hopped in her bed, laying underneath the covers, and closing her eyes. However, after rolling around and switching positions, she couldn't get comfortable, and her worries of her impending marriage and possible destruction of Wonderland didn't help her into her dreamland either.

Eventually, she gave up on sleep completely, and was forced to face her thoughts of the man she was soon to marry. "Oh, Hatter, how I wish I could tell you how I feel, however I myself am unsure about my feelings for you. I just don't know how to act around you now. I suppose I should figure it out now, since I'm going to be your wife. Oh my, me a wife? Why, I cannot imagine it! I've never pictured myself as anyone's wife, or even anyone's anything for that matter! Alice, Alice, Alice, how do you get yourself into these strange situations?" she asked herself, troubled with herself, before gasping suddenly when her door opened, pouring a bit of light from the hallway, revealing a strange shadow that entered her room.

"Who's there?!" she gasped, suddenly scared it was the Prince of Spades or the Knave of Hearts ready to steal her away back to Underland. However, when the shadow lurked near the foot of her bed, he revealed himself to be Hatter.

"Alice, it's just your friendly neighborhood, Hatter," he chuckled, his voice filling the quiet room with sweet sounds. Although she could not see him, she pictured his gap filled grin gestured in her direction. Alice sat up and pulled the covers around her.

"Hatter? Why are you here?" she asked, confused by his strange night visit. It was hard enough to think about him all night, and then now see him when she tried with all her mind to ignore him. Yet, people as odd as him were hard to ignore, especially the handsome ones at that.

"I came to see if you will allow me to sleep in here tonight. I tried sleeping in my room, but you know me, I need a room full of muchness, and even though your room lacks in it as well, having you dwell inside makes up for the loss," he said quickly, meaning the comment as a compliment to her muchness, though he could not see her face to see if she accepted it.

"I don't know, Hatter. What if Cady checks in and sees you here?" Alice said warily, not wanting to hurt his feelings but also trying to persuade him out of the idea.

"Please, Alice, I shall sleep on the floor of course, and I won't be a bother. I believe my madness calms down quite a bit when I slumber," he spoke, his voice more pleading than before.

Alice thought it over in her head, and finally came to a response. "Alright, fine, but you must promise to hide if someone comes in," she said decisively, before hearing a slight cheer from the man's lips.

"Oh, thank you Alice, my dear. May I borrow a blanket?" he asked and neared the side of her bed, and Alice handed him her comforter and a pillow, deciding that she was too hot for the large blanket anyway. Hatter grabbed the items and made his way to the side of her bed, laying the pillow and blanket on the floor and curling up in them.

After an awkward silence, Hatter decided to strike up conversation. "You know, Alice, talking to yourself is the first sign of madness," he mused, liking that the girl was just as mad as himself.

Alice froze in her bed. This meant Hatter had heard what she was talking about. "So I've heard," she commented cautiously, wondering if he would bring up her words.

"Yes, I used to do it all the time myself, but lately I have someone to talk to most often," he said, thinking about the last few days of being with Alice, in her oddly dull world.

Alice assumed he was referring to her, and she responded, "I love to talk to you Hatta, you are, I think, the only one who truly understands my curious nature, apart from Cady, of course, but I like that you are always there," she said, finding it easier to smile when she was in his presence. "I do think though, that we should save the talking for tomorrow, I am quite tired," she said after a moment, then bent over the edge to look at him, however, she could hardly make out his figure in the darkness.

"That's fine. Have a safe trip to dreamland, Alice," said a tired Hatter, who smiled, half-asleep and rolled over to meet her dark face before closing his eyes. Alice smiled as well and closed her eyes, imagining the place she came to love.

It was just as she remembered it. The forest was quite dark. however as it was nighttime, and she was cold, clad in her pale blue dress and without shoes. She walked through the tall green grass, searching for something she knew not. As she watched her steps, trying to avoid anything hard to step on, she heard a noise that caused her to look up. She stared face to face with a giant bug-like creature with sharp jaws and large black antennas, its great black eyes stared intently into hers. Before she knew it, she began running as fast as her feet could carry her, dodging the giant mushrooms and the strange hovering trees.

The beast followed her quickly, it roared in rage and she could hear the sound of a man screaming and laughing, yelling, "You'll never get away Alice! You will be mine!" She could however not stop running and dared not to look back at the creature, making her way to her place of sanctuary, the White Castle. She ran through the gates and entered the main room, seeing the White Queen seated at the throne. She screamed to the queen of her distress, however, the Queen was not Mirana, the kind soul, but rather Alice herself, adorned in all white, however her eyes were dark and sinister, and the creepy grin she gave herself was shocking.

"Alice, accept your destiny. Join him," she said to her scared self, rising from her throne and walking up to the King's throne, revealing a man dressed in all black, but before Alice could see his face, Hatter screamed, "No Alice! Get away from him!" and Alice was forced to look to the Hatter who was standing with a noose around his neck. Alice ran to save him, but the evil Black King shouted, "Kill him!" and the Hatter fell, breaking his neck, his top hat falling to the ground.

"Nooooooooooo!" screamed Alice, thrashing about in the sheets, he hands balled up in fists and her teeth grinding in pain. She felt as if it was her own neck being broken in the same way.

Hatter awoke suddenly when he heard Alice scream, and went to her side, climbing on the bed and shaking her about. "Alice! Alice, wake up!" he said frantically to the tortured girl, wishing she could wake up. After a bit more shaking, Alice opened her eyes, blinking radically, trying to see if she was back to reality. She felt the hands of someone on her and recognized Hatter's voice trying to calm her down as he rocked her back and forth.

"Alice, are you okay?" he said in concern. He had never seen her in such a helpless manner and wanted to comfort her. He placed a few light kisses to her forehead, and to her wounded hand.

"I think so. Hatter, I had a terrible dream," she said, the fear in her voice was evident. She held onto his body as if she was scared he'd leave her.

"No, no, Alice, it was a nightmare, and a horrible one at that. But its fine now, love, it's over," he repeated, as the soothed her by wiping the tears away from her face and running his hands through her hair. Alice never felt this helpless since she was a child, yet she was incredibly glad to have Hatter there to comfort her. After a good five minutes of rocking her, Hatter suggested she go back to sleep, claiming that one never dreams the same thing in one night, for that would just be too convenient, especially if it was a pleasant dream, like the many he'd been having of the girl in his arms.

"No, I can't. I'm too frightened," she dug her nails into his side when he tried to leave her, so he didn't move.

"I suppose I could lay with you, just until you fall back asleep?" he said hopefully, believing this to be an act of kindness, and in no way risqué. She nodded in the dark and scooted over, making room for him to climb underneath the sheets. He laid on his back on her left, while she laid the same way on his right. It was weird because he didn't want to fuss about getting comfortable, especially if it required him to move in the bed.

Alice felt the same awkward feeling, and suddenly felt very cold as a draft from the open window blew upon her bare arms, causing her to shiver. Hatter felt the slight movement of the bed and turned to face her in the subtle moonlight. "Alice, are you quite cold?" he asked, his voice barely above a whisper.

"Yes," she responded after a quick moment, then decided to ask him something she thought a bit risky. "Can you hold me Hatta, just so I don't shiver so much?"

Hatter responded to this by leaning over and wrapping an arm over her body, then scooting closer to her. He liked the way her small frame fit perfectly in his, and the scent of her hair that was mouthwatering. He tried to control his mind, as well as his other eager parts, but the lady was just too beautiful to resist. He placed his lips on her head of hair, and then whispered, "Goodnight," before snuggling his head on her shoulder.

Alice felt amazing in his embrace, and noticed her heart was beating faster than before. She was suddenly aware of where his lips were and felt the tickle of his hot breath against her ear when he said, "Goodnight."

She squirmed a bit when he did then, and let out a soft moan, which she found caused something behind her to poke her thigh. His lips suddenly, found her shoulder, then her ear, then her cheek, while his hands rubbed her shoulder and her back, sending goosebumps up her spine, causing her to thrash about in a more sensual way. She rolled over to meet his face and touched his neck and chest, her hands exploring the fabric of his nightshirt. And then, he ducked his head, in search of her lips, claiming them as his own.

Alice had never kissed a man in this extreme manner, let alone allow one to kiss her back. Although she enjoyed the sweetness of his mouth, she knew not what to do with her tongue and followed his lead, flicking it against his, causing him to gasp. She felt up his chest, exploring the feel of his body beneath the thin fabric of his nightshirt, then dug her nails into his strong back.

Hatter was too preoccupied with the delicious taste of her mouth to notice the sheets slip away, or the pain of her nails on his back. He felt her side, exquisitely delighted to discover she had nothing beneath her thin nightgown, placing a hand on her chest, feeling her heart beat furiously beneath his hand. Had he not been too busy with exploring her soft skin, he might have noticed the strange light radiating from the vanity mirror, revealing a very shocked Queen Mirana.

"Oh my!" she gasped as she saw a glimpse of the pair attacking each other in sensual urgency, causing the two to separate suddenly, with Hatter falling off the bed, and Alice laying out, uncovered from her sheets with her nightgown lifted to her reveal her bare thighs.

"Queen Mirana!" the two gasped in unison, but from different locations, trying to cover themselves in hopes of saving whatever dignity they had left. Alice's face was bright red, white Hatter's was washed away or any color whatsoever.

The Queen asked if it was safe to open her eyes, the looked toward the two haggard lovers, a sly smile upon her lips. "I can see that you two have been getting along nicely," she remarked, her dark eyes flickering from Hatter to Alice, who were both trying to smooth out there clothing and hair. Alice's was quite a mess, but nothing compared to Hatter's orange mane.

"I am quite sorry for intruding, especially at this hour, yet I must tell you what has happened," she said gravely, setting up her words for her next sentence.

Alice and Hatter rose from the bed and walked over to stand in front of the mirror, ignoring their lack of breath, or their sweaty foreheads, to hear what she was about to reveal.

She took a deep breath and said, "Nivens McTwisp has been kidnapped."

Hehehe! Kinky? I know! I bet none of you were suspecting that, eh? Please review, guys, I need feedback!!!!!!!!!

Well, this chapter was an emotional roller coaster to write, and I'm sure you can tell which parts I wrote at night, all alone in my room... ; )

Alicia Strange