Once again, the Hatter was acting odd. Or, at least, odder than usual. He was always a little nervous around Alice. Not only that, but the majority of Alice's other friends kept looking at her and smiling secretively.
So, Alice had chosen to spend the day alone. It was sunny and beautiful and she chose to go back to the ballroom which was blinding with the sun streaming through the huge windows. Alice didn't mind, she thought it was quite beautiful.
She sat on the floor thinking of everything that had happened since her arrival. She had expected to come back and had normal days of tea parties and long debates with her slightly mad friends. She had never expected to come back, find herself in yet another war, and fall in love in the process.
"Alice?" called a soft voice through the room. "Is that you?"
Alice turned to the door where the Queen stood. "Oh, wonderful, it is you," she said, sweeping into the room.
"Your majesty," she said. "How are you today?"
"I'm doing very well," replied the Queen. She offered Alice her hand and Alice took it and was helped to her feet. "Especially now that I've found you."
The Queen held Alice's hand tight and led her from the ballroom. Alice looked curiously at the Queen.
"The Hatter is waiting to have tea with you in the garden," said the Queen, walking briskly.
"Oh," said Alice. There was something extremely odd about the brisk manner that the Queen was walking in, and the strange, secretive smile on her face. "Will you be joining us, Majesty?"
The Queen laughed a little. "Oh no, no, dear. I have a great many things to do."
"Oh," said Alice once more. They had reached the front doors. "Are you sure?"
"Go!" sighed the Queen, and she pushed her out the doors.
The Hatter had never been so nervous, or a least he couldn't remember ever being so nervous. In his pocket e tightly held a tiny box that was given to him by the Queen, and the box tightly held an Alice ring.
"Now, what do you say when Alice gets here?" asked Chessur calmly, lounging on the back of the Hatter's chair.
"Ask her why a raven is like a writing desk?" said the Hatter. He noticed that his voice was strangely whispery.
"No," sighed Mallymkun, hopping down from her spot on the teapot. "You compliment her. Girls like compliments."
"Oh yes!" said the Hatter happily. "I knew that."
"Then what do you need to do?" asked Chessur.
Before the Hatter could even use his best thinking skills on this question, the three heard a soft "Hatter?"
"Ooh!" cried the Hatter nervously. "She's coming!"
"I'm not even hear," said Chessur, disappearing in his slightly infuriating way. Mallymkun jumped off the table and ran away.
"Hatter?" called Alice's voice again.
The Hatter tried to answer and found that someone had stolen his voice. Odd. He didn't think it had left with Chessur and Mallymkun. He cleared his throat and tried again.
"I'm here," he said, then smiled at finding that his voice had decided to come back just in time.
Alice walked around the bend and smiled at seeing him. He still couldn't help but love her smile.
"Ah, Alice!" said the Hatter. What had Mallymkun said? Oh yes, a compliment. "You look very Alice-like today." Hmm… not exactly the best compliment, he decided.
However, Alice seemed to take this in a good way. She smiled.
"Is that good?" she asked.
"Why yes," said the Hatter happily. "Because when you look like yourself, which is all of the time, you are probably the most beautiful thing I've ever seen." Better.
Alice smiled again. "Hatter, that was very sweet."
The Hatter smiled and gestured for her to sit. She did so.
"Would you like some tea with your sugar?" asked the Hatter, holding up the teapot. Wrong again, he thought. "I mean-"
"Yes, I would," interrupted Alice.
The Hatter smiled. At least Alice understood him. People usually didn't. He poured her tea and then dumped the sugar in. Alice thanked him and for a moment they sipped their tea in silence.
The nerves were getting to him again. He clutched the box again, but couldn't seem to bring himself to pull it out. He fingered the box for a moment, then took a deep breath, preparing himself when Alice said "I have a new riddle for you."
The Hatter quickly grasped at the new topic and for a few moments, the two discussed riddles. Alice smiled and laughed at all of the Hatter's ideas and thoughts. However, he was starting to lose thoughts of the ring in his pocket. His nerves were getting the better of him.
Perhaps there would be a better day for the conversation.
Then, as if to prove the Hatter right, the two of them heard footsteps. They turned toward the entrance to the garden.
There, standing at the entrance was someone the Hatter had never seen before. She had fair skin and the same eyes as Alice. Sadly, she wore no hat on her blonde curls.
The Hatter heard a sharp intake of breath beside him and he looked curiously at Alice. Her mouth was hanging open slightly, and her eyes looked strangely watery. He hoped that she had not sprung a leak.
There was quiet throughout the garden. Finally, Alice spoke.
End Of Part One
A/N: Yep, that ends this particular story. Don't worry though, I will be coming up with a Part Two very soon. Keep your eyes open, I will be calling it Saving Underland.
I'd just like to thank everybody for the reviews and the support. I am forever grateful to all of you.