Disclaimer: I don't own any Alice in Wonderland, least of all Tim Burton's amazing work. Nor do I own any of the scripted lines or rhymes below.

Chapter Four (Epilogue) – 'Awakening'

Tarrant was aware of warmth, of smooth cotton, a feeling of utter contentment… and a pale light shining through his eyelids. Grumbling, he rolled over to bury his face away from the sun (really, if Time would do nothing for him, did he have to acknowledge the Morning?), only to freeze as he felt… soft skin… against his own.

Hardly daring to breathe, not wanting to open his eyes should this mysterious figure vanish, he extended a hand to further explore what seemed to be a shoulder. A small, silken shoulder which felt that it could only be the perfect shade of sugar-sweet vanilla and honeysuckle… he knew the flavour of that touch…

His eyes, not to be denied any longer, snapped open.

She was here.

"Alice…" he whispered reverently, tracing from the bare, tooth-bruised shoulder on which his hand rested up the line of her neck to her lovely face. Her eyes were closed, the lashes brushing her cheeks, and in her beautiful mouth was the hint of a smile.

"I have kissed that bonny mouth…" Tarrant whispered under his breath to himself, his eyes widening as everything flooded back to him. "I have touched you, Alice, you're really here, you were here then, it's really you, you're here and your own size, the right proper Alice-size, and it's a bonny perfect size Alice, you are perfect–!" He cut himself off abruptly as her nose twitched. He didn't want to wake her…

"But it cannae be helped, my dear" Tarrant murmured as he drew his face closer to hers. "I can never help mysel' aroound ye." With that, he dropped a sweet, gentle kiss upon each of her eyes before bestowing a final one on her mouth.

Alice came awake to warm lips against her own. Her eyes fluttered open to see the beautiful sight of two bright green orbs, the shade of sunlight filtering through young leaves and she laughed in joy. "Hatter! You…?"

"I have never been better, my beloved Alice. And yes," he smiled, "I know that it's really you, and I'm very glad for that indeed, my dear. After all, there is no one else to whom I can say what I'm about to say, as it would not only be untrue, but also very improper – doubly so because of course it is most improper to tell an untruth, and I would hardly tell such a heinous thing to you, so–"

"Hatter! Tarrant!" Alice giggled as she cut him off, clasping his face – now glowing like white pearl in the soft dawn light, the shadows of his eyes brightened to a pale rose – in her hands. "Just tell me!"

Tarrant smiled. "Gladly, Alice dear. First of all, I love you. And second" – he pressed a finger to her opened lips – "Ah-ah! I am now going to thank you for what you gave me last night, my love."

"Ah…? What? T-Tarrant, what do you mean 'thank me'? Where are you going?!" She moved to follow him as he swung himself off the bed and put on the discarded leggings, only to feel a jerk and realise that he had somehow managed to tie her hand to the bed-post with what appeared to be the strip of fabric used to tie her blue robe shut the previous evening. She gaped at him as he waggled the fingers of his dextrous hatter-hands at her, grinning.

"Don't worry, love. I won't be a moment. As I seem to recall you telling me…behave." The grin grew to a smirk and his voice lowered to a promising, purring brogue. "I'll drive ye as mad as myself, my bonny."

She leaned back and smiled in resigned anticipation as she heard him speak to a passing footman outside the door… "Yes, two strong, sweet teas my good man, and a large jug of cream. A very large jug, if you please. And strawberries."

She could certainly get used to this sort of… breakfast in bed. 'Oh yes.'

Later – much, much later – Tarrant raises his head from Alice's flushed, strawberry-stained skin, cream smeared liberally about his mouth, only to see a very familiar top-hat out of the corner of his vision.

A top-hat floating in mid-air in the corner of the room.



Author's Notes

Okay, this was originally written for the Livejournal Alice Kink section, but I think I spun it out a bit too much… besides, it's too sappy for a real kink. Sorry if it's too rushed or too heavy for some, but his is my first time writing romance, so if you don't like, don't read.

Please R&R – Constructive criticism much appreciated!