A/N: Yes, finally another installment. It's short, but it's here. Last night, I had this weird craving to write another chapter, so I did it. I hope you guys like it. I promise I'm going to try harder to keep chapters coming for a while.
Thanks to everyone who's kept up with me, even after my terribly long absence.
Alice breathed in the sweet scent of the flowers lining the path to the White Queen's castle. She wondered if she'd ever really be able to just sit and enjoy the smell. She didn't think she'd ever have a quiet life in Wonderland.
Mallymkun sat resolutely on Alice's shoulder. Despite Alice's attempts to get Mallymkun to stay, she was dead set on going with her.
"The Hatter is my friend," she'd muttered, and crossed her arms as though that settled the matter. Alice had no other choice but to set Mally on her shoulder, and set off.
The two of them were silent as Alice walked out of the castle grounds, and across the barren landscape leading toward the Red Queen's castle. Alice felt a shiver and glanced behind her.
"Mally," said Alice softly. "Did you tell anyone that we were going to Salazen Grum?"
"Well," said Mallymkun, tapping her paws together. "Not really, I mean, it might have slipped out…"
Alice spun back around and surveyed the land behind her again. There was someone very close. "Chessur?" Alice ventured.
"You weren't supposed to tell," said a sly voice to Alice's left. Alice turned and watched Chessur's head appear out of nowhere.
"Chess," Alice sighed.
"Before you say anything," Chessur cut in, "I think you should know that I have had very little chance for adventure in quite some time. I look at this as an excellent opportunity to get out and stretch my legs." His head turned as he grinned.
Alice glared at him for a moment. Looking more somber, he quickly added "and Tarrant is my friend too."
Alice shook her head. There was obviously no stopping them.
"Alright then, I suppose we're off."
"Twinkle, twinkle little bat, how I wonder where you're at."
The Hatter had calmed down a surprising amount. He breathed in the smell of the mid-morning air, and hummed randomly to himself.
"Up above the world you fly, like a tea tray in the sky."
As he hummed the finishing "twinkle, twinkle, twinkle," the Hatter's mind wandered to the sky. It was a lovely, light blue and it made the Hatter think of Alice. He smiled.
Of course, there were troubles with Alice. The fact that he had not enough time to spend with her. The fact that he got so nervous around her sometimes, so nervous, in fact, that he couldn't muster up the strength to ask her hand.
He reached in his pocket to wrap his hand around the box that he carried everywhere.
"Alice," he practiced aloud. "I love you very much."
He shook his head. Perhaps to straight forward.
"Alice," he began again. "I hope that we can spend the rest of our lives, be them short, or long, or infinite, or a few days, or…"
He shook his head. He'd lost his train of thought. That would never do in a proposal.
"Alice," he started once more.
"Oh," said the Hatter in surprise. He certainly hadn't expected her to respond. Perhaps he'd spent a little to much time alone. "Nice of you to join me, imaginary Alice," he said, nodding to absolutely no one in front of him.
"Hatter!" yelled a second voice.
"And Mallymkun too," said the Hatter, tilting his head. "What a pleasure to have so many imaginary friends join me this evening."
"Tarrant, turn around," drawled a third familiar voice.
"Chess? Is that you?"
"Yes, and we're not imaginary," Chessur responded. "Turn around."
Hatter stopped and tilted his head thoughtfully, the turned around.
Alice was rushing toward him, and she threw herself into his arms.
"And now I'm hallucinating," he said. "I've definitely been alone a little to long."
Alice laughed and hugged the Hatter tighter. "You're not hallucinating, I'm really here, Hatter."
The Hatter thoughtfully surveyed the Alice that was in his arms. She smelled like Alice, and he could never recall a hallucination smelling like something. She felt like Alice, and certainly hallucinations couldn't really feel like something. That could only mean one thing.
"Alice?" Hatter asked timidly. "
"Yes," she lauged again. "You crazy man, it's really me."
The Hatter smiled a genuine smile. "Magnificent," he said softly, kissing her head. However, he had a stirring of worry in his heart. It seemed like there was a reason he hadn't wanted her to come…
"Alice," he said suddenly, remembering. He pulled her away. "This is too, dangerous, you can't come."
"Hatter," Alice said, shaking her head. "We make the perfect team. I would never let you do this alone. We do everything together, and that's a promise. We defeated the Red Queen together, saved Mally and Thackery together, and we will do this together."
Hatter's eyebrows furrowed for a moment, looking as though he might argue.
"Hatter," whispered Alice. "I love you. We're a team, because of our love. We'll do this together."
The Hatter's eyes lit up. "I love you too," he said smiling. "And you're absolutely right."
"I know," Alice laughed.
"Well, let's keep going then," said the Hatter jovially. He took Alice's hand. "Together."
And even though it didn't start with an M, He decided it may have been one of the best words he'd ever said.