Title: All Hands
Rating: PG
Genre: romance/humor
Characters/Pairing: Alice/Hatter, Mallymkun, Thackery, Chessur
Summary: Sometimes they get in the way. Sometimes they don't.
A/N: Brief ficlet, coming from the realization that I have a serious obsession with the Hatter's hands. Officially, the color and whatnot is because of mercury poisoning.

All Hands

Here's the issue with hands. Useful things, certainly. They do tend to get in the way a bit.

Take, for instance, the fact that he didn't realize till long afterwards that he'd accidentally sewn his thumb into the fold of satin lining the cloche that was his current project. (The lady in question, Madame Millidasher, paid exceedingly well; in butterscotch crumpets, unfortunately, which perpetrated horrors on one's waistline.) The digit would not stop bleeding. He appeared to have struck a vein, in much the same way that one strikes gold; with the important difference that blood wasn't nearly so shiny. He ripped up old sheets, for bandages (having heard of someone doing that once, during a long-ago and far-away wartime), and hoped to heaven that they gave him a dashing air rather than (as he rather suspected) a slapdash and haphazard one.

Slapdash and haphazard were such fun words to say, however.

And the pointer finger on his right hand? Well-night useless after that unfortunate accident with the stapler. Who on earth let Thackery, of all people, have an object that could potentially cause such devastation? Long ago, the Hare could be sane, when it suited him; but too long a time of living on the edge (of the world, of the table, of disaster) had put paid to that. And a stapler, of all things. The ignominious defeat of Tarrant's once-fine finger was a source of shame.

For Tarrant at least. Thackery, on the other hand, had subsequently gone on to staple both ears to the table, and for an entire fortnight had refused everything except food and drink.

The missing tip of Tarrant's little finger could not, unfortunately, be put down to such useful domestic accidents; rather, it stood for a shameful episode in his life, in which he had engaged in a fight to the death (or to the pain, whichever seemed more important at the time) with Chessur over the last of the tea cake. Chessur had very sharp teeth and, as it turned out, a way of apologizing that seemed to put the blame squarely on the opposite party.

"You know how I get about such things," the Cat had said, grinning. "If you had only kept out of the way, that cake would never have escaped."

It was after one too many times being stabbed at by Mallymkun's sword (made of a hat pin which he had most generously gifted her; but did she show gratitude? She did not) that Tarrant had the thimble permanently grafted onto the middle finger of his left hand. Somehow, however, she managed to find a way around it when she wanted to. Constant stabbings made him grumpy; he shut her in a teapot; an accord was eventually reached. But the thimble remained.

No doubt about it, hands were occasionally more trouble than they were worth. But now, now, just now, with Alice slowly undoing the bindings and bringing his ravaged fingers to her mouth, he's quite willing to overlook it.

She presses a kiss to the newest permanent addition: a gold ring, left hand, third finger, indicative not of pain, but of pleasure. Smiles up at him.

"What have you been doing to yourself?"

"It's a long story," says Tarrant, with a faint smile; and puts it off for another time.