And here it is, the last chappy of the Broken Muchness! I shall have the sequal to this story up with in a week or so so please stay tune. I hope you have enjoyed this as much as I have and will follow me further as Stayne plot thickens and secrets that have thought to have died resurface to haunt our characters. Again reviews, flames, comments, questions, concerns, ramblings, and nonsense welcome!
Thank you such much and without further adieu, here. we. go!
Disclaimer: I own nada

Chapter Twenty-three: will you marry me?

Alice finished the last of her paperwork and locked it back into the drawer and placed the key along with a few notes and a letter addressed to Lord Ascot into an envelope and placed her seal on it. She planned to leave everything in his care.

"Alice, are you here?"

"In here," Alice called. She saw Tarrant wearing his blue suit and dark coat again his hat perched askew on his head.

"Are you ready to go," he asked. Alice hailed a messenger from the street and paid him to deliver the letter. She gave him a pound note before he left and turned back to her office. She stared after the boy and pondered, Tarrant immediately picked up on it. "Is something on your mind?"

"What would you call an office that doesn't belong to you any more? This office isn't old so it can't be called an old office so what would it be called," She asked.

"Hmm, I am not sure, perhaps if we say fairfarren and be gone quickly it won't pay any mind at being called old," Tarrant said. Alice chuckled as she pulled on the soft silver cloak she had brought with her today along with a bag of her belongs from her old apartments. Packed and her affairs set, she was content knowing she would be able to leave her affairs in order.

"McTwisp said he would meet us at the looking glass," Tarrant said as he offered his arm. "Shall we?" Alice looked up at him her face unsure.

"Will I be able to come back someday, Hatter," She asked. Tarrant's face became grim.

"I am not sure Alice," He said. "But I do think you will. Time passes so quickly for most though it doesn't notice me any more, but I suppose he will let you on his own watch." Alice nodded as she took one last look around before she followed Tarrant to the guest rooms.

Alice went first through the mirror, the trip was easier than the last and this time she managed to move in time before Tarrant landed on her. Nivens was, indeed, waiting for them when they arrived. As they mounted the Bandersnatch that had been brought for them, Alice couldn't help but feel uneasy. A niggling fear danced down her spine and made her tense.

Arriving at Mamoreal, Mirana greeted them with a smile. She allowed Alice to pick her rooms this time. She chose ones adjacent to Tarrant's workroom and she had her things moved in.

Tea was served and seemed uneventful to Alice, things just seemed off. She didn't know why but the niggling feeling didn't tire even when she retired early. Sitting in her room, Alice looked out over the gardens and courtyard towards the mountains. They appeared black against the dark blue and seemed to swallow the sky as they seemed to head for her very window.

"Alice, its Tarrant, may I come in," a knock came. Grabbing her wrap, Alice wrapped it about her shoulders before she let Tarrant in.

Tarrant looked healthy and restored. His color was beginning to brighten; he wore a lavished coat of burgundy and a green waist coat. His trousers were dark brown and he wore a bright yellow ascot. Alice smiled as she saw the emerald color of his eyes that she loved and had longed to see peeping out from underneath the brim of his hat.

"Am I intruding," Tarrant asked.

"Not at all," Alice said as she held the door. "Come in."

Tarrant had been at his wits end all day. He finally had been able to detangle himself from the storm of customers that had flooded him the moment he arrived.

Alice had been so distracted all day and thus in turn such a distraction for him. Even though they were back in Underland, she seemed in low spirits and so disconcerted Tarrant feared she had fallen ill or worst, wish to go back to her world right away. Though he would happily go with her back to her world to make sure she was safe, Tarrant knew he would have to return quickly. He didn't like London and wouldn't wish to be back so soon.

Worried about her, he left as soon as he could to venture to her rooms, even though she was down the hall now, he couldn't seem to get there fast enough.

When he saw her, his mouth seemed to lose its ability to hold itself together.

Her pale hair tumbled down her back in a waterfall of pale gold and she wore a long pale blue night gown trimmed with gold thread. She looked all together fragile, pale and very beautiful.

She went about to serve tea, gathering the china and cutlery.

"Pardon if it is a bit cold," She said. "I wasn't expecting company tonight."

"Not at all, not at all, it is my fault for not sending word," Tarrant said as he forced his mind to gather in to a jumbled mess. "Pray, Alice, are you feeling alright?" Alice looked up from lighting a candle for light with an odd expression.

"I just can't shake this fear, Hatter," Alice said, a tiny tremor carried over in her voice. Tarrant's felt his expression soften and sadden.

"Why are you afraid, Alice?" Alice rose and walked out onto her balcony, her wrap falling down a little on her shoulders.

"Stayne is still out there, somewhere, watching, waiting, like some monster in the dark waiting to snare me once again," She said. "I put you and everyone in danger just by being around you and I don't know what I can do to prevent you all from being caught up again in this." Her shoulders tensed as she lowered her head. Tarrant felt his heart ache for her. He came up behind her, his face just inches from her hair. He could smell the sweet candied floral scent that was uniquely Alice.

"You can't keep us out of this, Alice. Stayne has attacked Mirana, The White Queen of Underland and that it is a declaration of War in most of the kingdom's eyes, lass, which are a pair of beautiful eyes," Tarrant said. Alice didn't turn. "Alice, we will protect you no matter what. You're our champion and Underland will do all in her power to protect you and if she doesn't, I shall." Tarrant decided to take a risk. He placed his hands on her shoulders and leaned his head on the back of hers. Tarrant gave a small smile when she didn't tense. "I won't ever let harm happen to you, Alice." Alice turned as she looked up at him, her eyes wide and beautiful shiny from unshed tears.

"I won't ever let him hurt you Alice," He took another risk and gently cupped her face. Alice leaned her cheek against his bare palms, her eyes partially closed. She reached her hands up and daintily touched his. Tarrant felt his heart swell as he gave his heed to his emotions. He leaned forward and kissed her. Alice at first seemed stunned but after a moment Tarrant felt her lips mold to his.

He felt something give way inside his chest. Tarrant felt heat from it seep from deep inside his heart and slowly snake its way along his very veins. He felt as if he couldn't get close enough to Alice as he deepened the kiss.

Alice placed her hands up on to his chest as if to stop him, she tensed before she relaxed, her hand gripping his coat. Tarrant wrapped an arm around her waist as one sank into her hair, holding her close. Her hair felt like silk caressing his skin as he laced his fingers through it possessively. A small sound came from Alice's mouth as she opened her mouth to his. The kiss evolved from a chaste pressure to something he hadn't felt before, a kind of heat that swept down from there lips and threaded itself along his body. He suddenly felt stifled and if reading his mind, Alice's hands sought to remove his coat. He shrugged the confining piece of clothing off as he returned his hands back to Alice, not wanting to let her go.

On impulse he broke the kiss only to pull her into the bedroom, he was about to pull her on the bed when Alice placed her hands on his shoulders.

"Tarrant," A single word brought him from his daze. Her eyes were confused and a small inkling of fear shined bright enough to stop him in his tracks. .

"Sorry, did I scare you," He asked. "I am terribly sorry Alice." She placed a hand over his lips. He looked confused.

"I am just a bit uneasy," Alice said. Tarrant felt instantly contrite. He had just swore he would never let harm come to her and here he was harming her himself! "I don't know what I am doing." She sat down and he joined her on the bed taking her hands into his.

"Neither do I," Tarrant said. "Mayhap we just continue not knowing and do as we please?" A smile broke her features and seemed to light up the entire room.

"Alright," Alice said. Tarrant caressed her face and moved her hair away from her shoulder before he kissed her again. Alice caressed his face as her fingers played with his neck and hair. Tarrant felt a slightly chill seep down his back as he shivered. Her fingers were causing the strangest of feelings inside him and along his skin. He left her lips only to kiss her cheek down her jaw and before he kissed her neck, he paused. He didn't want to do anything that would upset her but he was dying to see if her skin tasted as delectable as her lips for he believed himself drunk on them already.

Alice slowly revealed her neck to him as he smiled as he laid gentle kisses. Alice trembled as he longed to be able to bury his face into her hair and feels its texture against his face.

Slowly, tentatively, Alice sunk her hands into his hair, his hat falling off and joined the coat and wrap on to the floor. Tarrant kissed down her neck and placed a light kiss on her collarbone. When he kissed the hollow of her throat, she jumped. He placed his hands on her shoulder and she slowly curled her fingers in his hair, holding him to her.

Tarrant felt as if someone had spiked his tea. His skin was on fire and his mind everywhere at once. He was overwhelmed by the sensation that had begun to sweep through his body settling in his belly and slowly seeping down into his manhood. He never would have thought he of all people would be feeling like this with Alice.

Alice, he returned his mouth to her lips, his hands slowly moving her nightgown down her shoulders, each time pausing to see of she would stop him. She did once and he massaged the curve of her arms with his hands. After a while, Alice let him move the fabric down once more, revealing the swelling tops of her breast.

Tarrant found himself entranced by them. Alice lay back as he kissed her deeply as he kissed down the hollow of her throat and down until he hovered just above her heart.

"May I, Alice," He asked. Alice looked down at him and nodded her eyes bright, curiosity lit her features.

Tarrant kissed the valley of her breasts, Alice trembled and he decided he was done asking permission. He gently pulled down her night gown and exposed her breast. Alice bolted up but held her hand in his. He met her eyes as he lowered his head and took her breast in his mouth.

She moaned and arched as he gently suckled and licked around her nipple. He moved to do the same to the other one as he gently massaged them both. He groaned at the taste of her skin, she wasn't just delectable, she was divine.

"Tarrant, Tarrant," Alice moaned out his name as she wiggled beneath him.

"Yes," He looked up and was about to ask further but the look on her face halted his breath.

Alice rose up, her gown falling down to reveal her breasts and stomach. Tarrant felt his jaw slack.

"What are you staring at," She asked. He swallowed hard as he tried to make his mouth work.

"I . . . I . . . I have . . ." Tarrant shook his head as he untied his tongue. "You're exquisite Alice." Alice smiled as she drew her knees under her, placing her hands on his chest.

"May I," She asked. Tarrant couldn't say anything more so he resigned to nodding.

Alice kissed him as she hesitantly undid the first buttons of his shirt. Her hands trailed over his skin with each button she undid, causing more chills to race down his spine. He couldn't move his arms for they were the only thing supporting him now as he leaned back. Alice undid the last button of his shirt and vest opening them slowly to reveal his chest.

By the light of a single candle, she cocked her head to one side as she traced her hands over his chest. Tarrant felt quite undone by it all.

"Alice," He jumped when her fingers passed over his nipples. She jumped and drew back her hand as if it had been burned.

"I'm sorry," She began but he pulled her to him and kissed her deeply. She resisted at first but slowly gave in causing flames to seep from the kiss. When he pulled back they were both breathless.

"Look your fill, Lass," Tarrant whispered to her lips. "I won't push ya but please don't torture me for I am not used to this." Alice kissed him as she swept her tongue along his lips, making him groan.

She pulled back and began to kiss his neck. She mimicked his light touches and feathery caresses. She kissed down his throat to his shoulders where she nipped him playfully. Tarrant smiled but was stilled as her hands burned a trail down his stomach to a place he hoped she hadn't noticed.

"What is this," She asked. Tarrant could see the root of his fire raised inside his trousers. He blushed to the roots of his hair.

"Pay it no mine," He said. He went to cover the wretched thing but Alice stayed his hands. Slowly she reached forward and began to undo the buttons of his trousers. Tarrant felt his cheeks heat even more as his root sprang forward fully erect, uncommonly large, begging for attention.

"Shameful thing," Tarrant muttered as he closed his eyes. He didn't want to see the look on Alice's face when she saw it. He wished he could make it disappear for sullying Alice's eyes with such a sight.

"I've never seen a man like this," Alice said. Tarrant slowly opened his eyes just as Alice traced a finger from the tip to base. He jumped as he felt himself straining against his own skin.

"Alice you don't-." He bucked when she wrapped her hand around the length. He jerked up, wide eyed as he saw the smile on Alice's face.

"You like this," She asked. "Why are you so embarrassed Tarrant?"

"I . . . you . . . its improper," he said dumbly. His protests fell on deaf ears as she laughed.

"Who's to say what is proper," She chimed. "I know there is no such fancy." Tarrant felt a wicked smile touch his lips.

"Yer playing with fire, lass," He whispered broguishly. "If you truly want to be so, I can play with you." Alice seemed to sober as her face became somber.

The light of the moon showed down through the high windows and the candle threw its light about the room, its crackling the only sound. Tarrant was convinced his heart beat could be heard down the hall. How in Underland could Alice not hear it?

"I think," Alice started. She shook her head before she smiled shakily. "Tarrant, I want you to be with me." Tarrant furrowed his brow as she explained.

"I can not say for sure if you would be my first or not, but if it is any consequence, I want to be able to choose who I allow favors of my body and I want them to be yours." Alice whispered, her cheeks flaming. Tarrant thought it was pretty. "I love you Tarrant and I want to be with someone I love and that I know won't hurt me." Tarrant smiled as pulled himself up, placing his legs on either side of her. He pulled her forward and kissed her. Alice buried her hands into his hair.

"If you be sure, Alice, I can try. But know I won't be taken a favor from you," He said. Alice's brow furrowed. "I will be given you one as well. I love you as well and trust me when I say that whether or not I am your first, I want you no matter what." She nodded as she brushed his hair out of his face.

Tarrant lay her back down as he kissed her and took both of her breasts into his hands. She moaned as he gently massaged them before suckling each one. His hands trailed down her body as he removed the last of her gown. He propped himself up on his arms.

She was small, almost elfin. His hands wrapped around her waist and he marveled at how thin she was, her breasts were full and round pale globes that balanced the generosity of her hips. Tarrant never thought a woman could have enthralled him so much or make his body react so violently. He was barely able to leash himself from ravaging her.

He bent his head to trace her navel with his tongue as he devours her skin. With each stroke Alice trembled, Tarrant thought he would indeed go mad with each moan that escaped her throat as she traced her hands along his shoulders under his shirt. He quickly shed the rest of his clothing not wanting the slightest bit of hindrance. Alice drew him up and kissed him deeply. As he did, he felt his hardness slide against her center. She bucked as he jumped at the contact.

Curiously, he rubbed himself against her again. Alice trembling became violent as she gripped him, Tarrant reveled in the pleasure he felt. She was slick; wet, he could feel the heat coming from inside her that made him tremble. He almost lost himself had it not been for the iron grip Alice had on his shoulders. He would have thought he had been hurting her had it not been for the deep moans that came from her throat. He grasped himself to stay his fire but saw a hand on his.

"Tarrant, please, go ahead," Alice said. His eyes widened.

"Are you sure," he asked. Alice smiled as she kissed him as she removed his hands and urged him forward.

Gently, he centered himself at her entrance. Alice trembling seemed to be continuous now as she pulled him closer. Tarrant eased himself in and out before he met her eyes, and buried himself inside.

Alice dug her nails into his back as a small cry came from her mouth. Tarrant couldn't hear or see anything. He was assaulted on all sides by pleasure.

Never had he felt such warmth engulf him. It was tight, warm and encased him wholly. He gave another light thrust, then another, then another. He couldn't stop his hips from thrusting against hers. It was impossible. Pleasure built inside him as his movements became wild. His heart thudded in his chest as the voices in his mind were silent in awe of the delight he felt.

Alice writhed under him as he kissed her deeply. She moaned into his mouth as he continued to thrust. He pulled back and began to suck on her breasts, she buried her hand into his hair as she thrashed. Fearful he had hurt her he paused as she continued to move, thrusting her hips to meet his and protesting his action. Undone, he continued.

Pressure built as she cried out and gripped him tightly. She clenched him so firmly he felt himself burst.

Pure bliss blinded him as he cried out. It felt so good it was almost painful as he convulsed, her body pulsed rapidly around him spurring on.

When the convulsions ceased he collapsed onto her, his head swam as it pressed into her chest as she held him tightly. He let himself relax completely in a way he hadn't done in a long time.

"Are you alright, Tarrant?" She asked after a while. He pulled himself off her and lay down beside her. Unable to bare the loss, he pulled her against himself and to his heart.

"Never been better," He said before realization dawned on him. "Oh dear, Alice, did I hurt you at all?" Alice looked up sleepily as she smiled.
"A little in the beginning but it quickly faded." She said as she snuggled closer. "I have never felt so before." Tarrant held her as he contemplated.

"Alice, what does this mean for us," He asked. Alice looked up at him curiously. "Your mother, she had asked if we were engaged, I just wanted to know, since this has happen what we are now." Alice sat up.

"I am not sure, I mean, I know we have been courting one another but, we haven't spoken of marriage until it was brought up." She said. Tarrant rose from the bed. "Tarrant?"

"Alice, let me do this now," Tarrant got off the bed as he pulled on his trousers. Alice pulled her blanket around her perplexed as Tarrant knelt down before her.

"Alice, I know we haven't been together long, but I feel I have cared for you since you returned to Underland and you thought me a dream and I know this is rather untoward but I wish to ask you now though if you don't want me to ask I won't but I would very much like to ask you and ask you-."
"Tarrant," Alice said. "What is it?"

"Ask . . . sorry," He shook his head as he mustered his thoughts. He took a breath and began.

"Alice, will you do me the great pleasure of accepting my hand," He asked. Alice looked dumbfounded.

"You mean. . ." Alice trailed off. Tarrant took her hands into his and held them delicately in his own.

"Will you marry me," Tarrant clarified. There he said it, he felt proud that he had finally been able to say what he wanted to for a long time. Ever since he realized what he felt for Alice, he knew she would be the only woman he could ever love.

Alice's silence unnerved him but he knew he could wait, he would wait as long as time would allow him to, forever if needed.

"Hatter . . . Tarrant, I-" Alice colored as she looked down at their hands. "I love you, but I don't think I would make you a good wife."

"Is that your worry," Tarrant asked. Alice nodded. "I think you would make a wonderful wife and even better, as my wife, Alice." Alice smiled.

"Then, I would have to say, yes," Alice said.

A bubble started inside his heart and spread through his body. Before he knew what he was doing, Tarrant had tackled Alice and pulled her to his chest.

"Hatter!" Alice cried as Tarrant whirled her around and around. Her cries turned into laughter as he brought her down and proceeded to waltz her about the room, laughing like a lunatic. He stopped as he held her close and kissed her. Joy unlike any other prevailed upon him as he poured all his love, his hope and happiness into a single kiss.

When they broke, Tarrant was certain he saw stars.

"I reckon you agree," Alice said dreamily. Tarrant grinned happily.

"Of course, I do dare say I do," He said. Alice chuckled as she dislodged herself from him.

"Tarrant, if I may ask, let's wait to announce the news until after Stayne has been taken care of," She said. Bewilderment clouded his eyes as she clarified. "If any were to get wind we would become more of a target and it would set my mind at ease if we waited."

"Quite alright, quite alright, but at least let me get you a ring," Tarrant said. Alice was about to protest but he touched her nose. "If you are to make me wait to have you as my wife, you shall not deny me the privilege of seeing a ring of my choosing gracing your hand." Alice sighed.

"If you insist, but I wish you wouldn't," She said.

"I do indeed," he said. He held her close as he buried his face into her hair. Alice sighed as she laid her head on his chest. "I love you, so much Alice. I can hardly wait until I can have you as my wife." Alice smiled into his shoulder.

"Hatter," She whispered.


"Why is a raven like a writing desk," She asked. He smiled into her hair.

"I haven't the slightest idea." He said contently. When he said no more, she pulled back and caressed his cheek.

"By and by, I love you too," She said. Tarrant knew his cheeks would protest smiling so much in the morning but he didn't care. Nothing would be able to remove the smile from his face from now until the end of time.

Little did he know someone was listening, hidden below the balcony floor, someone knew their secret and would use it against them.

Thank you all for showing me so much support. I am glad to finish the first installment of the broken muchness and hope to keep things going!
Stay tuned for more madness!