A/N: I finally saw "Alice in Wonderland" today. But I've been working on this series of fics for quite a while now. (I found the trailers fascinating.)
This will be a series of one-shots telling of (mostly) the marriage of Alice and Hatter. I love marrying characters. :-)
Please review, but please be kind as well. It's been forever since I've written anything, and these two finally got the muse started up again.
Someone once told me that marriage is just an adventure into madness. They didn't realize just how right they were.
"Mummy?" Charlotte asked timidly. She was playing with her dolls when the question suddenly came from her.
"Yes, my little love?"
"May I ask you a question?"
I knew this was coming. She had been unusually quiet all morning, especially for an over-inquisitive four year old, so I knew something was on her mind.
"You may ask me anything."
"Well... why does everyone call Daddy "mad"?"
Ah, the question that I knew would be coming eventually. Of course it would confuse a child.
"Lottie, it's just something that they've called your father for a very long time."
"Oh. But … is he?"
"It is a difficult question. Mad being such a relative term. There is certainly nothing to fear. Your father is the most gentle man in this world. Or any other for that matter."
"Oh, I know that. Daddy would never hurt anyone!"
"Right. And besides, my father, your grandfather, used to tell me that all the best people are mad."
She laughed at this, probably not understanding fully. And then she paused. "Is it because of his hair?"
I smiled inwardly. Of course she would worry about that. The same flame orange hair that was on Tarrant's head, was on hers as well, complete with the pale white complexion.
"No, dear one. It's not his hair. Have you not noticed that everyone here looks different in some way?"
"Well, yes. But it looks so different compared to you."
She definitely inherited my stubborn curiosity.
"Yes, of course he looks different than me. But just because I have blond hair and you and Daddy have orange hair, it means nothing. You and I have blue eyes and yet your father has green."
"They aren't always green," she corrected.
"Yes, that is true. Occasionally, they are different shades as well. But normally they are a very handsome green." Every now and then, Tarrant's eyes would turn a bit yellow when the confusion of madness would settle in. Closer to orange when he was angry. The red of rage was practically a thing of the past, thank goodness. And of course, the deep emerald green when he was feeling a bit amorous, but Lottie knew nothing of that color.
"And his face has other colors as well," she added.
Was I this stubborn to my parents?
"Yes, he does have some odd coloring about him. It's true. But it's nothing to worry yourself about. People just call him mad because he's ... eccentric. There's just so much personality in him, that sometimes it just bursts out."
She pondered this for a second.
I looked at her contemplative face. "Does it bother you that they call him mad?" I asked, cautiously.
"Well, it did. But perhaps you're right, Mummy. It's just how he is."
"Indeed. Your father is just -"
"Mad as a hatter!" a familiar voice called from behind me.
"And not helping," I muttered.
"Daddy!" Lottie cried as she ran into his arms.
She studied his face for a few moments and placed her hands on his cheeks. The question was in his eyes, but he let her continue. She smiled and then leaned in to whisper, "I think you're perfectly mad, Daddy. Just perfectly."
"My Lottie, kinder words have never been said to me."
I had to smile when I saw the exchange between father and daughter. It had seemed ever since we had become a couple, and especially since the birth of Charlotte, his normally wild mannerisms had calmed considerably.
"So, why are you home so early? The tea party ran short?" I asked.
"Well, my very favorite guests were not in attendance, so I just couldn't have a bit of fun. Something that I plan to rectify this very second."
I quirked an eyebrow at him.
He returned my glance with that grin that always said he was up to something – which was often. "Why, we're having a tea party right this instance!"
"Now?" I questioned.
"Of course now. What a silly question. 'Now?' she asks…Silly Alice."
I sighed. I knew I couldn't win. "Fine. Lottie, go fetch your best hat. Tarrant, go start the tea. I'll set the table."
As I watched the two pumpkin-haired loves of my life dash off, I couldn't help but ponder the changes in my life. How I went from such a strict society to a wonderland, married to a "mad" hatter, with a beautiful little girl.
Later that evening, after Lottie was in bed, my husband finally asked the question.
"So, why am I 'perfectly mad'?"
"She was very upset today that people call you that."
"Upset? Why would she think that?"
"It's only natural for a little girl to want to defend her daddy."
"Something you are well-acquainted with."
"Indeed." I thought a moment. "I do wish you could have met my father. I think you would have gotten along very well."
"Do you think he would have approved of a madman for his daughter?" he asked with a silly grin.
I smiled. "I think he would have laughed at just how appropriate it is. No one but a mad man could settle an Alice like me." Hatter smiled at that.
I continued, "Besides, there's that word again. The madness in you is certainly different from other kinds of madness."
"Leave it to my sweet Alice to qualify the madness within me."
I stuck my tongue out at him. "Well, it's only fair."
"Is that what helped Lottie? Qualifying it?"
"Yes and no. She didn't understand that it's nothing that bothers you and that it's something that is just said. Just a word."
I tried to read his face, but, for once, it didn't really show his feelings. "Does it bother you?" In all the time we had known each other, I had never asked the question. I suddenly felt very guilty about that.
"No. No, not at all. You are very right in saying that it's just a word. And not necessarily meant to the full extent of the definition. And knowing your opinion of those who are mad makes it all the better for me. But I can certainly see where it would put a concern in a small one's head. I worry that it made her think less of herself perhaps."
He was always much more perceptive than people gave him credit for.
"I don't believe she feared herself mad." I hesitated, unsure of how he would react to what else she said. But he did want to know, so I continued. "But she did have a concern about her hair."
He gave an uncomfortable chuckle. "It's one of my favorite features of hers."
"I know. And she knows that as well. She's certainly not embarrassed by it. But she is just a little girl. Despite how old she acts at times, she just doesn't fully understand things. She's told me on more than one occasion that she loves sharing your hair color. She loves all the things she shares with you. And perhaps that was the problem. Perhaps she didn't like one of her favorite things being a possible problem for you."
"Possibly," he said, a little more sure of things. "And she's no longer worried?"
"She's fine now. I believe she's come to accept the madness that is her father."
"And has her mother?"
"Accepted it? My dear Hatter, it's what I fell in love with first!"
He smiled that gap-toothed grin that always made me weak. Perhaps others thought him mad, but I found him to be exactly as Lottie stated. Perfectly mad. And my life was made perfect because of him. What a wonderful thing that I fell down that rabbit hole.