Disclaimer: I don't own Alice in Wonderland, nor any characters, places, things, or ideas therein. Those belong to Lewis Carroll, Disney, and Tim Burton. I am writing this fic for entertainment purposes only, not monetary gain, though reviews would be nice…

Summary: A thimble serves many purposes, as Alice knows and Hatter is about to discover… AlicexHatter

Rating: K+

Warnings: Fluff

Pairing: Alice/Hatter

Part: 1/1

Author's Note: Just a quick little piece of lighthearted Alice/Hatter fluff that occurred to me while working on "Maddening" (the rest of which should be up within the next two or three days). Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy this fic, and that it brings a smile to your face! ~fyd

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Thimble

fyd818

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The stars were out in full-force that night, shining against the midnight-blue sky like diamonds on velvet. Alice Kingsley leaned on the railing of the balcony she'd stood on what felt like forever ago, when she'd been preparing herself to slay the Jabberwocky.

And, just like that night, she had a companion. Though this time she knew for sure he was real, as real as the world that stretched out below and around her. Underland had not changed much over the course of the year she'd been gone back to Otherland. What few changes there were had all been for the good as the White Queen Mirana of Marmoreal restored what her older sister, the Red Queen Iracebeth of Crims, had endeavored to darken and destroy.

The warm shoulder pressed comfortably against hers shifted a little. "It's so good to have you back, Alice," her companion whispered with a soft lisp.

At last turning away from the view, Alice smiled at Tarrant Hightopp, the Mad Hatter, who had faithfully waited for her at the head of the tea table where she had first encountered him. Though she had missed all of her friends in Underland, it was he whom she had missed most. She had not allowed herself to admit that she loved him until she was back in Otherland, where she could not stay for more than a year until she had to come back to him. "I am, too," she agreed softly.

Upon her return, her dear Hatter had taken her in his arms and kissed her breathless. She found it quite refreshing, since in Otherland no gentleman was allowed to do something like that (though there she had to admit she was glad this social rule was in place, for she didn't want any man taking such liberties with her). Then he had swept her right off to Marmoreal, where a position as Hatter to the White Queen was awaiting him, and all her other friends were waiting to welcome her back like the Champion she was to them.

Mirana had insisted she stay in the castle, at least for a while. Alice had shyly agreed, secretly glad she could since that meant she could spend her days with the Hatter, quietly observing him at work. She had always been curious about his work as a milliner, since she had never seen him make a hat before. After she returned to Underland, she saw him make many, many wonderful hats, several just for her.

Though Time moved much differently in Underland (he was a lazy creature, Hatter had explained to her one day, more likely as not to meander his way through the days instead of rush through them like in Otherland), she could only hazard a guess as to how long she'd been there. As best she could figure, four months had passed in Otherland, though it had only been a week and a half in Underland.

"Alice?"

She had returned to staring out at the stars, but she turned to Hatter when he almost shyly said her name. He was staring at her with wide eyes, the irises the vibrant green that she so adored. "Yes?"

He stood still for a long moment, opening and closing his mouth as his fingers contracted and relaxed into fists. Finally he shook his head hard, whipped off his Hat with one hand as he reached for one of hers with his other, and went down to one knee before her.

Alice felt her breath hitch in her throat. She had seen a man take that position once before, when a man named Hamish Ascot had proposed to her. As far as she knew, that was the only reason why a man assumed such a position, though she wasn't entirely sure.

Unlike when Hamish did that, however, Alice felt only happiness and a fierce desire rush through her. Oh, Hatter…

His hand, the fingers rough and bandaged from his work, tightened around hers slightly, but not painfully so. "Alice," he whispered. "You're Underland's Champion, the most heroic hero to walk this land in many long years. I-I'm just a milliner, and a mad one at that, but--" He stopped and swallowed hard. "I-I love you, Alice. With all my heart." He drew her hand towards him and rested it against his chest, where she felt his heart thrumming against her fingers, in a rhythm that was just as fast, as wild, as excited as her own. "Will you -- I was wondering if you might -- well, I was curious if--"

"Hatter," she prompted softly, though her voice was a little strained.

He started slightly. "Thank you," he whispered. "I'm fine." Shaking his head, he looked back up at her again and smiled his warm, happy, hopeful smile at her. "Will you marry me, Alice?"

Alice's heart swelled to bursting as warmth flowed all the way from her toes to her cheeks. Falling to her knees in front of him, she threw her arms around his shoulders and buried her face in his shoulder, inhaling his unique fragrance of tea, exotic fabrics, and just a hint of wood smoke. "Yes," she whispered, feeling tears of happiness roll down her cheeks. "A thousand times, yes."

Hatter withdrew slightly, but only so he could cup her face in his hands (she only dimly wondered what he'd done with his Hat) and kiss her. "Oh, Alice…" he whispered as they mutually withdrew. Then his eyes went very wide and panicked. "Oh no!"

"What?" Alice asked, glancing behind her. But there was nothing and no one there.

"I don't have a ring!" He cast a desperate look around, as if hoping one would suddenly appear out of thin air.

Relief spread through her. Laughing slightly, this time she was the one to take his face in her hands so he'd look at her. "It's fine, Hatter," she whispered. "I have you. That's what matters."

Some of the frenzy faded from his gaze, but he still looked miserable. "You must have something," he replied. He thought for a moment, his forehead wrinkled in the same way it did when he was considering words beginning with the letter M, or mulling over the conundrum of how a raven was like a writing desk. After a while, his face brightened. "That's it!" Holding up his hand, he plucked one of the shiny silver thimbles from his finger, then took her left hand in his and slid it onto the tip of her left ring finger. To her surprise and delight, it fit perfectly. "There," he said. "I shall get you a ring very soon. A beautiful ring, a wonderful ring, the perfect Alice-ring…"

Placing her fingers over his lips to hush him, she smiled as the moonlight glinted off her new thimble. "This is perfect," she whispered. "I love you, Hatter, and nothing is better than one of the thimbles from your own hand." Taking his work-roughed but gentle hand in her own, she kissed the tip of the finger he'd removed the thimble from.

Finally he seemed to relax, the tension and agitation at last leaving him. Smiling softly, he leaned forward and pressed a kiss to her forehead. "Then, my dear Alice, it is yours. As am I, forever and always."

"Forever and always," Alice agreed, right before Tarrant kissed her again.

And, far above them, the stars seemed to sparkle just a little bit brighter in celebration that the Champion of Underland and her dear Hatter had finally found each other, forever and always, at last.

~The End~

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Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed!