Alice hadn't known what to expect from their conversation at the Looking Glass but awkwardness had not been it. Her relationship with Hatter had been a complete mix of just about every emotion she could think of, coming lighting fast in the span of three days, and ending in friendship/maybe I like you.
At least thats how she felt. Instead she was standing in front of Hatter while he rattled on about the good times in between the bad. After a brief silence she found equally awkward and strained sentences falling from her mouth and doubt was beginning to settle uncomfortably in her stomach.
As the Looking Glass technician lead her away from Hatter it was more relief than sadness that filled her. The whole line about "lots of other things" had just slipped out. As soon as the words were out of her mouth and she saw Hatters eyes widen, she wished she could scoop them back up and away from his ears. She had felt the heat rise to her cheeks and was grateful for being turned away from him before he could see her embarrassment. Of course that thought was quickly gone when she was lead up the small landing and straight to the Looking Glass.
She could feel the technician's hand at her back as he told her to force herself to breathe. She was given a hearty push straight into the mirror and was just a shocked as everyone else when her face hit the glass with a thud and her whole body bounced slightly away from the smooth surface.
Complete silence filled the room as if no one could believe what had just happened. Alice moved her hands to her nose which ached slightly from the impact seconds before. "Ow."
At her utterance the spell that had enveloped the room disappeared. Everything seemed to happen at once. Jack and various technicians begin messing around with the box that held the ring of Wonderland, every Oyster in the room erupted in a string of questions about what had just happened, and somewhere, she could hear Charlie beginning his dark arts chant.
Then suddenly she was pulled back as Hatter stepped in front of her. The technician who had moments before escorted her to the mirror was now shoved up against its frame with Hatters hand fisted in his lab coat.
"What the hell do you think your doing shoving her like that? Have ya any idea who she is?"
Alice reached for Hatter's hand that was holding the confused man against the gold frame. "Hatter let him go."
Hatter gave the man one last shove before releasing him and turning toward Alice. His hands cupped her chin and turned her face up to him. "Are you ok? You're not hurt are ya?"
She was about to tell him of course she was ok but stopped when she felt a trickle of blood flow from her nose and down her lips.
"Bloody hell." he said in a harsh whisper and he pulled a cloth from his pocket and wiped at her face.
"Please everyone calm down!"
Alice held the cloth up to her nose and she and Hatter both turned to see Jack addressing the crowd. They had all grouped up around the mirror and there were a few suits pushing them back away from the king. "It seems there needs to be a few adjustment to the mirror, I can assure you our technical staff has this matter under control."
No matter how confident Jack's voice was or how regal his stance may have been, it did nothing to reassure the small mob before him. Questions continued to be shouted. How long will it take? Do you intend to keep us here? Are we even safe here? Why should we trust you? Where will we stay?
That last one was a good question. Where would all these people stay? There were plenty of buildings here in the city but Alice had no idea what most of them held. Even if Wonderland had the equivalent of hotels here they would need over 500 rooms, and that was if everyone doubled up. She herself hadn't counted how many people had fled the Casino but she knew there were still Scarabs flying at full capacity transporting people to the city.
"Please just give us a moment." Jack had motioned to Ten and a few other clubs to follow him out of the room.
Though they weren't asked Hatter and Alice followed. The room they entered was just off the main hall and held only a desk and a few chairs.
Whether Jack wanted them there or not didn't seem to be an issue. "Alice, shut the door." She closed the door behind her and focused on the king
"Whats wrong with the mirror?" asked Hatter starring across the room at Jack
Jack crossed his arms defensively across his chest. "The mirror, needs to be calibrated to send the Oysters back to the correct time and place. Normally it holds those connections within itself so return trips can be made. Someone however, seems to have wiped the mirror clean. The connections have been lost so the technicians will have to reestablish a path to the other world first before anyone can go through."
"How long will it take?" asked Alice.
Jack hesitated a bit before answering her. "It's hard to say. It could be a few weeks or possibly a few months."
"What are you going to do Jack?"
Jack sat on the edge of the empty desk and ran his hand through his blond hair. "Ten? How many people can we hold in the palace?"
Ten nervously wrung his hands "There are one hundred and thirty two rooms at the palace, if you count all the meeting rooms, dining and seating areas. We may be able to house three hundred"
Jack shook his head slightly. "There are far more Oysters than that."
A Club Alice had never seen before spoke. "Housing them is not our largest concern. Providing food and water will be our biggest problem. Most of our resources went down with the Casino."
"You're forgetting the Tea heads."
At the sound of his voice, all eyes turned to Hatter. "News of the Casino being destroyed and you taking the throne is going to spread like wildfire. Every junkie out there is going to hoard whatever emotions they can get their hands on and when they find out the Oysters are stuck here, they're going to go right to the tap."
"He's correct," said another Club "We mustn't let anyone know the Oysters are trapped here."
Alice spoke up "How exactly are you going to hide a thousand plus people?"
Jack stood and attempted to regain some control of the conversation. "Ok, first let's redirect the Scarabs and begin taking women and children to the palace. Alice, we'll be sure to get you on the first trip."
"No?" said Jack clearly confused.
Next to her Hatter only threw his hands up in exasperation. "Alice, don't argue. It's the safest place for ya now."
Alice shook her head. "No, I can take care of myself. Besides, you said it yourself, you don't have enough room for everyone. I'm not going to take space away from any of those people."
Jack moved across the room and took her hands in his. "Alice, you more than anyone deserves to be looked after. Where else would you go?"
Alice looked down at where their hands were joined and then up at Hatter. He was looking away off into the corner of the room staring at nothing. She pulled her hands away from Jack giving him a small smile.
"Hatter?" He looked at her, his expression pretty much blank. She had to admit, he had a good poker face. "You have a couch at your shop right? Mind if I crash there for a few days?"
That seemed to catch Hatter off guard and he stammered for a moment before answering her. "Sure, if I have a shop left that is."
Jack motioned towards one of the Clubs. "Take a few Suits and escort lady Alice and Hatter through the city." The club nodded and opened the door, holding it for Alice and Hatter to follow him out.
Alice moved to leave when she felt Jack grab hold of her arm. "You won't reconsider will you?" Alice looked back at him and shook her head no.
"Ok" he said "I'll be sending Suits to check in on you and keep you updated on the mirror situation. If you need anything just let them know, they'll be sure to get it for you."
She nodded and smiled at him. "Thank you Jack."
When they left the room Alice spotted Charlie across the hall. His fingers were rubbing small circles in his temple and he was humming softly. She walked up behind him and tapped him on his shoulder.
Hatter stepped in front of Charlie "Charlie!" he shouted clapping his hands in front of the old man's face.
"Hmm?" Charlie grunted and dropped his hands from his head. "Harbinger, lady Alice. I was just consulting the dark arts to find what could be behind the mirror's malfunction."
Alice smiled up at him. "Well thank you for that but could you do me a bigger favor now?"
Charlie snapped to attention, his armor clanking noisily. "I will do whatever you ask of me Alice of legend."
"Good, the Scarabs are going to be taking a lot of these people to the palace, could you go with them to make sure everyone is taken care of and treated ok?"
Charlie bowed slightly. "It will be my honor to look after your people lady Alice. But where will you be?"
She gestured towards Hatter. "I'll be staying here in the city with Hatter for now."
"Then I will leave you in the care of your harbinger."
Alice moved to hug the old knight. "Thanks Charlie."
With that Alice and Hatter left the mirror hall.
Ok, so I have a few ideas for this story. It should be about 6 to 7 chapters long. I'm not going to trap Alice in Wonderland but I like the idea of her being able to explore a bit without having to fear for her life. And we all know we want her and Hatter to spend more time together. Next chapter should be up by this weekend.
On another note I know the show only showed a small number of Oysters at the end but really there must have been a lot more than that to supply all of Wonderland with emotions. Not sure if it would be more or less than the number I guessed at but for this story thats what I'm going to go with.