Disclaimer: I do not own Alice in Wonderland, nor any places, things, characters, or ideas therein. Lewis Carroll, Disney, and Tim Burton own those. Nor do I own Pirates of the Caribbean or any places, things, characters (sadly), or ideas therein. That belongs to Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney, as well. I am not making any monetary gain whatsoever from this story, it is a fic meant for entertainment purposes only.

Summary: While in Otherland, Alice meets a man who reminds her of the Hatter, whom she misses very dearly. They are both on Great Adventures, and their paths cross one dark night when they encourage each other to go for their hearts' desires… AlicexHatter

Rating: T

Warnings: Some name-calling by Jack, some rum, and a kiss…

Pairing: Alice/Hatter, Alice/Jack friendship

Spoilers: Nothing specific for either AiW or PotC

Dedication: To my twin sister jewel of athos, who partly inspired this idea, makes me laugh, does an awesome beta job, and encourages me in my writing and posting. Thanks, sis! -hugs-

Author's Note: This fic was partly inspired by jewel of athos, who is also a big fan of Johnny Depp, and partly by my Jack Sparrow poster and my Mad Hatter poster having a stare-a-thon across my room. My Muse decided to take the challenge, and though Jack and Tarrant don't actually meet face to face in this fic, I had a grand time writing it. This isn't really meant to be taken too seriously, since I don't know for sure if Alice in Wonderland and Pirates of the Caribbean line up as far as timelines, but this is just a bit of harmless fun, so for the intents and purposes of this fic, we'll say they do. Thank you so much for checking this fic out, and I hope you enjoy it, and that it makes you laugh! ~fyd

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Pirates and Hatters

fyd818

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Alice Kingsleigh pulled her jacket a little tighter around her and hurried her steps. When she'd decided to stay late at the Kingsleigh and Ascot Trading firm's office, she had not expected to lose track of time and make her way back to the little place she was renting in the dark. Most people steered clear of her because she was "strange," but there were those few who found ways past their superstitions of her to approach her. And without an escort…

"Excuse me, miss, but would ye 'appen to know where the 'arbor is?"

Alice's initial instinct was to run very far and very fast away from the voice that had suddenly come from behind her. But her second, stronger, reaction made her freeze in recognition. That sounded like… She spun, irrational but anxious hope in her heart, to face the owner of that voice. "Tarrant?"

She was immediately disappointed. Though the man before her was wearing a hat, it was a tri-corn instead of a top hat. He also had long hair hanging around in his face in unruly dreadlocks, as well as a faded red bandana peeking out from beneath the brim. He had the swarthy tan of a sailor, and a beard that was parted into two braids. His clothes were somewhat ragged, as if they were the only ones he owned.

"I think I've 'ad a bit too much rum," the sailor said conversationally. "Because I do believe you just called me Tarrant." He stuck out his hand, which was rough and scarred and bedecked with rings. "I'm Captain Jack Sparrow, luv. Savvy?"

Despite her reservations, Alice hesitantly reached out and took his hand to shake it. "I-It's a pleasure to meet you?" she said, the words coming out as a question instead of a statement.

"'T'would be a pleasure to meet ye, too, lass, if only I knew your name…?" His eyebrows rose as he smiled winsomely, a few golden teeth flashing in the glow of the lamps that had been lit for the night.

"A-Alice," she said, managing a small smile. "Alice Kingsleigh."

Sweeping his hat from his head, Captain Jack Sparrow bowed at the waist and planted a kiss on the back of her hand. "A pleasure, Miss Kingsleigh," he said. Standing up, he set his hat upon his head once more, this time at a somewhat jaunty angle. "Now then, I hate to rush along the pleasantries, but I must repeat my earlier question. Would ye 'appen to know the way to the docks? I seem to 'ave gotten myself a wee bit lost."

She blinked her eyes a few times, having to struggle a bit not to let the smile on her face melt away. The closer and longer she looked at this sailor, the more he reminded her of Tarrant. There was something in the shape of his cheekbones, though they were tanned instead of pale, and the set of his dark eyes above them, though their color was black instead of green… Shaking it off, she managed another smile. Watching him warily out of the corner of her eye, she twisted her upper body and pointed. "At the end of this lane, turn left. You pass three alleys, take a right, and then you should see the docks at the end of that road. It's not too terribly far at all."

The captain listened intently to her directions, nodding at each new thing. "Thank you, luv," he said, sketching another bow. He patted his pockets, then scowled and looked around. "Hmm. It would appear I have no payment for your help. No rum, either. Why is the blasted rum always gone?" He sighed, seeming sad for a moment, before he perked up and smiled. "And where are ye headed at such a late hour, Miss Kingsleigh?"

"Home," she said briskly. "I am expected presently for the evening meal, which I fear has been put off too long already." She prepared to offer her goodbyes and take off as fast as she could to get away from this man who reminded her in such subtle ways of the Hatter she had left behind what felt like forever ago…

"Wait, lass. It's not safe for someone like ye -- and please don't take tha' wrong, I beg ye -- to walk these streets alone at night. Will ye kindly allow me to escort ye? I promise I have no ill intentions." He smiled again, and if his lips did not curl in the same way as the Hatter's, her name was not Alice Kingsleigh.

She hesitated. Most people would take one look at him and either slap him in irons or run in the opposite direction, but she sensed something about him -- a sadness, an almost innocent honesty -- that made her unafraid of him. Again, it was the same feeling that she experienced around Tarrant… "All right, Captain. I appreciate your kindness."

With another friendly, if slightly drunken, smile, he offered her his arm. Ignoring the pervasive smell of rum (it was probably skin deep), Alice slid her hand into the crook of his elbow, and they set off. "Is your ship currently in the harbor, Captain?" she asked, mostly to be polite.

Jack hesitated for a long moment. "Ah -- I'm in the market, as it were," he finally admitted.

"You're a pirate!" she squeaked. She had to admit that the possibility had crossed her mind, but she hadn't thought that a pirate would be so -- well -- nice.

His eyebrows tilted again. "Observant, aren't ye?"

Alice felt her face flush. "I never expected a pirate to be -- well -- as nice as you."

"I'm one of a kind, luv." They walked in silence for a moment as Alice digested this bit of information. Then he finally remarked, "You called me somethin' when I first addressed ye. 'Tarrant,' was it? He the one waitin' for ye at home?"

"Home" was a relative term, as Alice had discovered. "Not where we're headed, no. But yes, he is waiting for me back home."

"Ahhh," Captain Jack said, his tone sounding oddly wise. "So that's it, then."

"What's it?" Alice asked, suddenly feeling defensive.

"Had a bit of a tiff, yeah? Decided to go your separate ways, for a while, and let your tempers cool. Aye, makes sense." He nodded with false gravity.

"That's not it at all!" she protested, then realized that he'd been teasing her. A strange man, this Captain Jack Sparrow…

He winked at her. "My apologies. I couldn't resist, luv." Smoothing out his expression again, he teetered a moment between one step at the next, mumbling a "Thank you" when she helped right him again. "Now then, let's see. Where were we? Ah, yes. Lover's quarrels and all that."

"I -- left him behind," Alice admitted. She had no clue why she was telling this strange pirate about everything, including but not restricted to Tarrant Hightopp and her leaving him alone back in Underland. Perhaps it had a bit to do with the fact that Jack reminded her of Hatter.

"That wasn't a very nice thing to do, luv. Usually it's the other way around, ye know."

"I wanted to go on an Adventure," Alice said, ignoring what he'd just said. "I wasn't satisfied with what I had -- who I had. So I left to find the Next Great Adventure, and here I am now."

"Sad, alone, and heartbroken," Jack diagnosed. "And where is this luv of yours, eh?"

"Still waiting for me at a mismatched tea table with mismatched chairs and mismatched tea sets, I would suppose," she replied sadly. She could still picture it in her mind so easily, though clearest in her mind was Hatter coming straight up and over the tables to get to her faster. That was an image she would not soon -- if ever -- forget, in spite of what he'd thought when she left.

"Perhaps he should try some rum," Jack suggested at last. "Cures a lot of problems, it does."

"Are you on an Adventure of your own, Captain?" Alice asked, desperately needing a change in conversational topics.

A roguish grin turned up the corners of his lips. "I guess ye could say that, luv."

Alice tugged on his arm, careful not to overbalance his already unsteady equilibrium as she guided him around the next corner toward her rented home-away-from-home, now only two streets away. "And what are you looking for, Captain Sparrow?"

"Call me Jack, luv." He reached around and patted her hand. "Me ship, for one. Lousy pirate by the name of Barbossa stole it from me, pilfering rat." His eyes roamed the darkness for a moment, as if expecting said man to suddenly appear out of the shadows to steal something else. "But I'm going to get my Pearl back, I am. Yes sir -- ah, ma'am." He nodded firmly. "And that is why I am headed for the docks. I require either passage on a ship or a ship of me own to find me ship." He glanced at her askew. "Ye follow me, luv?"

Laughing softly, she nodded. "Yes, Capt-- Ah, Jack."

"I'll get me ship back someday," he said firmly. "And what are ye lookin' for, luv, besides a Great Adventure?"

She felt the smile slide right off her face. "I -- don't really know," she replied. Perhaps something to replace what she had lost when she'd left Underland? It would make sense, except for the fact that she could never find anything in Otherland to replace what she'd left.

A few steps later and they were in front of the door to her house. She paused, glancing at the door before turning to Jack and saying, "Thank you for escorting me, Jack. You are a kind man."

Jack once more bowed to her, a roguish grin tilting up the corners of his lips. "Aye, and ye're a very nice lady," he said. "'T'was a pleasure talkin' with ye, Miss." His smile turned sad, and he once more picked up her hand to kiss the back of it. "May the seas favor ye when ye return to your heart's desire, luv." With those oddly poetic words, he turned to disappear back into the night from whence he'd appeared.

"Wait, Jack!" Alice took a step toward him, slightly heartened when he paused and turned to look at her with one eyebrow raised in question. "I hope you get your ship back."

His grin returned, making her wonder if she'd imagined the sadness in his smile before. "Aye, luv. I will." And with that he turned and walked off, singing under his breath about rum, rotten eggs, and pirates. Alice watched him until he turned the corner and left her line of sight.

Turning back to her door, she gazed at it for a long moment, then smiled. Tomorrow, she was going to pull a Captain Jack Sparrow and find the first ship heading for England. And then she would jump down a rabbit hole and find her way back to Wonderland, and the man waiting for her there…

*~*Two Months Later*~*

Alice had not encountered the mysterious Jack Sparrow again, though on her trip back to England the lookout had shouted that he'd spotted a pirate ship. She had gone to the rail to see, spotting the black flag a moment before the ship turned and vanished as suddenly as it had appeared. She had to wonder if the captain had done as promised and gotten his ship back…

She was pretty sure she would never know for certain if that had been Captain Sparrow, and if he had somehow known she was aboard the ship and turned it around. She liked to think so, however, and it made her smile as she once more tumbled down the rabbit hole toward home, this time with an anticipatory smile on her face and laughter instead of screams bubbling from her throat.

The pishalver and Upelkuchen did their work swiftly. This time Alice needed no directions and was the "right proper Alice-size," as the Hatter had once said, as she hitched up her skirt and ran for the windmill that was in disrepair and the tea tables that sat before it. And, more specifically, the man with green eyes and a most fabulous top Hat who sat at the head of said table…

She halfway expected to encounter the scoundrel Chessur on her way, but no one interrupted her flight through Tugley Woods. Her steps slowed as she neared her destination, ears straining so she could hear any sign of life before she got there. But there was no music, no rattle of cutlery or teacups, no shouts from Thackery and no murmur of conversation.

Alice spotted the broken blades of the windmill through the trees before she made it to the clearing, so she knew she was in the right place. She paused at the threshold of the woods, gazing at the tea table, which was in even worse shape than it had been when she'd originally visited. Broken china, tea stains, and the scraps of sweets lay scattered, long forgotten, across the tablecloth. The chairs and stools stood empty and abandoned, and the pot Mally had always used as a shelter was not present, broken or otherwise.

Disappointment and a sense of abandonment swelled into her chest, making tears prickle her eyes. Had she waited too long to return to Underland? Had too much time passed? Had Hatter moved on, forgotten her, or -- no, she would not think that. It was not possible.

A sudden movement caught her eye, and she looked toward the head of the table, at the dilapidated chair she had mistaken as empty, for the occupant's clothes were nearly as faded as the chair itself. A head of bright orange hair, topped with a most magnificent Hat, lifted to look in her direction. The stained, bandaged, and bedecked hands that had been folded across his chest in repose lowered, bracing against the armrests as if to root him to the spot. His clothes perked up, the colors brightening and his bow tie fluffing out. A smile parted his lips, revealing to her the gap between his top front teeth, and his unusual eyes shifted from such a dark green they were almost black to fluorescent, vibrantly alive lime.

And, in an exact copy of the memory Alice had replayed in her mind so many times, he vaulted out of his seat to make his unsteady way across the top of the table, down to the stool at the opposite end from his chair, and then to the ground. But he did not kneel in front of her as he had before, because this time they were both their right proper sizes.

"Alice…" He smiled again, an almost roguish smile that once more brought into her mind the strange similarities between this man, whom she had so dearly missed for so long, and the pirate she had become brief friends with back in Otherland, whom she now missed in an entirely different and platonic way.

"Hatter," she said, matter-of-factly.

Then his arms were around her, his lips were against hers, and all thoughts of Otherland, pirates -- and the rest of Underland, for that matter -- were gone.

She was home again. And it was all thanks to the kindly rum-soaked pirate who had escorted her home one dark night, reminding her of what was truly important to her, in this world and every other.

And, in the open water in the world Above, Captain Jack Sparrow snapped shut his special compass, picked up a fresh bottle of rum, and leaned against the wheel of his beloved Pearl. With a delightfully roguish grin, he nodded satisfactorily because he knew that somewhere, a lovely lass who had showed him a kindness had finally returned to where she belonged, just as he had returned to where he belonged.

~The End~

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Thank you so much for reading this, and I hope it made you laugh and brought you much enjoyment!