DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT own any of the chars from AIW. They belong to Disney. I do however own the Miller sisters as well as the lyrics to "Home Is Where the Heart Is." If anyone wants to use Alice and her sister or the song, please ask me first. Thanks!
God bless

A/N: This story came to mind after watching "Welcome Back Hatter!"

"Home Is Where the Heart Is"

"Alice, what's the matter?" The Queen asked her eleven-year-old daughter as she watched her push her food around her plate.

Alice sighed as she forced herself to eat a bite of food.

"Alice!" The Queen said sharply.

"Huh?" Alice said as she glanced up to find her mother gazing at her expectantly. "I'm sorry, Mom. I didn't mean to ignore you. I guess I'm just not hungry."

"Whyever not?" The Queen asked. "You love Rabbit's pasta casserole. You helped him make it."

Alice nodded.

"I know. I guess It's just been a long day. May I please be excused?"

The Queen thought about this for a minute before granting her permission to leave.

As she got up and pushed in her chair, Samantha watched her sister leave with a look of concern on her face. She had a feeling she knew what was really going on with her.

The seven-year-old missed Hatter too.

Earlier that day, Hatter had left to move into a castle on the outskirts of Wonderland. He had won the castle in a sweepstakes a few days ago.

Everyone was sad to see him go. But the girls, as well as Hare were taking it the hardest of all.

Alice hadn't wanted to see him go most of all. She loved him greatly and he had been like a father to her ever since her first trip to Wonderland over seven years before. Hatter had been the first person she had warmed up to and the first one she had trusted. And now Hatter was gone.

"Mommy?" Sammie said, gaining her mother's attention. "May I be excused too?"

The Queen glanced over at the seven-year-old's plate and nodded once she saw it was almost empty.

"Yes you may."

"Thanks! Love you!" With that, she left the room.

Wasting no time, Sammie made her way to her older sister's room.

She usually knocked, but she just pushed the door open this time. She frowned when she saw Alice sitting on her window. She looked really sad.

"Alice?" Sammie asked tentatively.

Alice gazed to where Sammie was standing as she tried to wipe a tear away from her bluish green eyes.

"It's okay to cry." Sammie assured her. 'I miss Uncle Hatter too."

Alice nodded as a few more tears fell. She opened her arms to her little sister and Sammie wasted no time in shortening the distance between them.

The two stayed like that for a long time.

When they finally pulled apart, Sammie posed a question to her sister.

"Why did Uncle Hatter leave us?" She asked. "Didn't he love us anymore?"

Alice's heart broke.

"I'm sure he does." She assured her. "Listen, why don't you sleep in here with me tonight. I'm sure Mom won't mind."

"Will you sing to me and tell me a story?" Sammie asked.

"Sure." Alice said.

Sammie grinned a little.

"Thanks, sis."

"No problem."

But as the two lay there, side by side a few hours later, Alice couldn't sleep. She kept replaying the scene from earlier that afternoon in her head. She couldn't get it off her mind. She hadn't wanted Hatter to leave just as much as Sammie didn't want him to go.

As she lay there, trying to sleep, she tried for another hour before resigning to the fact of getting up.

It was then that she got an idea.

Slipping out of bed, Alice put on her spring coat and grabbed Kessie from the left side of her bed where she had been laying.

As she leaned down to give Sammie a kiss, her little sister woke up.

"Alice?" She asked sleepily. "What are you doing?"
"Shh, go back to sleep, Sammers." Alice said softly.

Sammie's blue eyes were open now and she was wide awake.

"Where are you going?" She asked.

Alice sighed.

"I'm gonna wait at Mr. Hatta's until he comes home. I can't stay here knowing he might come back."

Sammie jumped out of bed and grabbed her own plush animal from beside her.

"I'm going too." She announced. "I love Uncle Hatter too."

"Okay." Alice said. "Just be quiet until we get outside. I don't need Mom finding out what we're doing."

Sammie nodded. She took her sister's hand and followed her out of the palace.

But even as they gained the outside, Alice realized their mother would find out what they were up to eventually. She just prayed it wasn't until the next morning.

They were halfway to their destination when they were joined by a feline of the night.

"Color me curious." The Cheshire Cat said. "But what are you two doing out so late?"

Alice glared at him as Sammie yelped in surprise.

"Oh, sorry." He said when he heard Sammie shriek. "I didn't know you were a scaredy cat, Samantha"

Sammie glared at him.

"We're gonna stay at Mr. Hatta's for the night." Alice replied. "He has to come home. He just has to."

The Cheshire Cat nodded sympathetically. "Well, something tells me you're gonna need someone to guide the way." With that, he led the rest of the way to the Hatter's house.

Once there, Alice used the entrance she always did and stepped into the familiar house.

It looked the same, except Hatter wasn't there.

Sighing to herself, she made sure Sammie was comfortable on the couch before taking the floor for herself. She had brought a sleeping bag with her.

Sammie drifted off to sleep almost immediately, but Alice stayed awake for a few minutes.

"Don't worry. " The Cheshire Cat assured her. "I'll protect you two. I can't let anything happen to my favorite future queen."

Alice glared at him, but the corners of her lips were twitching.

"Thanks, Mr. Cat." Alice replied.

"I don't mind lending a helping paw. Close your eyes and get some sleep. I'll keep an eye on things."

Alice barely heard the cat's last words as she drifted off to sleep.

Alice felt someone shaking her slightly a few hours later. She hadn't meant to fall asleep, but she must have been more tired than she thought.

As the person continued to shake her gently, she opened her eyes slightly.

She was about to tell Sammie to go back to sleep for another hour or so, when she realized she recognized the voice calling her name.

Once more, it wasn't her sister's.

"Mr. Hatta!" Alice shouted happily as she sat up and threw her arms around him for a hug. "You're back! You came back home! You're back! I missed you!"

Hatter nodded as he hugged her back. He stood up and ended up picking her up for a minute.

Alice didn't mind. She was just so happy to see him again.

"I missed you too, kiddo." Hatter told her as he hugged her close.

Alice's shout affectively woke Sammie, who shrieked with joy upon seeing her favorite uncle again.

"Uncle Hatter! Uncle Hatter!" Sammie cried happily. She practically flew into his arms once he put Alice down.

"Aw, sweetcakes, I missed you too!" Hatter said sincerely as he hugged her back. He picked her up as he had done to Alice and hugged her again. He then swung her around and started tickling her.

Sammie's giggles filled the room, making Alice smile from ear to ear.

"We missed you so much!" Sammie told him as he put her down. She frowned as her feet hit the ground. "Are you home for good? Or are you gonna leave us again?"

Hatter frowned as he heard the tremble in the little girl's voice.

He glanced over and saw Alice wasn't far behind.

"Girls, come here." He said kindly.

Alice did so. She knew Hatter rarely got serious. But whenever he did, it was for a good reason.

"Sit down." Hatter gestured to the couch and Alice sat. He took Sammie and pulled her onto his lap. "I didn't mean to hurt you two when I left." He began. "I'm sorry if I did. I guess I was just so excited about winning the sweep stakes, I forgot something my Granny Hatter always told me."

"What's that?" Alice asked.

Hatter grinned.

"You can live anywhere, but it's the people you care about that make it a home."

Alice nodded in agreement.

"And I love you girls more than anything." He said, hugging Sammie close and reaching out an arm to Alice.

"As for you, kiddo," He said, gazing fondly down at Alice. "We go way back."

"We sure do." Alice said with a grin. "And you know what else?"

"What?" Hatter asked as he patted Sammie's head.

"Home is where the heart is. And there's no place like it." With that, she stood up and started to sing.

We're so glad you're back home again

Right where you belong

It was strange without you here

Everything felt so wrong

Before you go and leave again

Please, listen to my song

You can travel near and far

It doesn't matter

where you go

Under the sea

Or to the stars

There's something

You should know

Home is where the heart is

Where friends greet you

And are there to meet you

Wherever you go

There is no place like home

You can travel around the world

Hunting for diamonds and pearls

But the true treasure you will find

Are the friends you left behind

So no matter how far you Rome

There is something you

should know

Home is where the heart is

Where friends greet you

And are there to meet you

Home is where the heart is

It's never far away

With friends who will always be there

Lots of laughs and tea to share

So however far you Rome

The place you call your home

Is where you truly belong


Home is where the heart is

Where friends greet you

And are there to meet you

It's never far away

Home is where the heart is

She grinned upon finishing her song.

Hatter was grinning as well.

"I couldn't have said it better myself, Alice. Or maybe I should say I couldn't have sung it better myself."

Sammie giggled at Hatter's joke.

"So, who wants some tea?"

Both girls agreed and went to sit at the tea table.

"I've missed this." Alice said with a fond smile.

"So have I." Hatter agreed as he poured her some strawberry milk.

"Me too!" Sammie agreed.

Just then, the phone rang.

Hatter excused himself and picked it up.

"Hello?" He asked.

"Hatter!" Came the Queen's demanding tone. "Where are my daughters?"

Grinning to himself, Hatter proceeded to answer her Majesty. He couldn't believe he had almost moved away from all of his friends-his second family.

As he stood there, watching the girls eat crumpets and drink tea, waiting for him to return, he knew he wouldn't' trade his life here for anything.

"Hatter! Did you hear me?" The Queen demanded.

Hatter smiled ruthfully as he answered her question.

'Well he thought as he put the phone to his ear. 'Almost anything.