a/n: I'm a huge HarexHatter fan, but I'm much too terrfied to try one now. Perhaps in the near future?


Hatter and Hare had been best friends ever since they could remember. They played together as little tykes, they went to school together, and soon grew up to become mature(-ish) adults together. Every year Hatter had given Hare the best present that could be given to a friend. And every year…Hare fell a bit short with his own. The thing was that Hatter had almost everything. So every year, when the Hare gave Hatter his present, it was always:

"Oh, Hare, I love it…now I have three hat racks!"

Or:

"It is perfect! Now I have a electric can opener in green and blue!"

But every year, Hare tried his hardest to think of something that Hatter didn't already have. This year, though, Hare had a secret weapon:

Alice.

Yes, with Alice's help, he was sure to find something that Hatter didn't already have. Another set of eyes and another set of logic was sure to help him. So, the day before Hatter's big day, Alice and Hare met exactly at 9 o'clock outside of their friend's house. Hatter had planned a morning walk with the Tweedles for that time and would be gone for at least a little while. After checking to make sure he was truly gone, the two snuck up to the attic to have a good look around.

"Gee, Hatter sure has a lot of junk," Alice said, picking up a box full of needles and napkins.

"Yes, but most of it has been passed down from hatter to hatter," Hare grunted as he moved a large metal box.

After seeing all they could see, they left for the city. Unfortunately, they crossed paths with the trio they had been avoiding on their way.

"Alice!" Hatter shouted wildly before they could hide.

"Good day, Mr. Hatter," Alice smiled.

"So…what are you and Hare doing on this fine day," Hatter chuckled, his eyes glittering.

Alice began to think Hatter that knew exactly what they were doing.

"Oh…just visiting the city." Alice began to turn away with the Hare following suit.

"Well, alright, I hope you find what you are looking for!" Hatter shouted behind them.

After speed walking most of the way there, they were exhausted and had to rest before entering the city. But once they arrived, it was an amazing sight to behold. The buildings were so tall and brightly colored that Alice found herself a bit taken back. She had seen the city once before, when Hatter had to have his operation, but they had left so early in the morning she didn't notice half of the wonders. Seeing it in bright daylight was an experience of its own.

Shopping, on the other hand, was something she could have gone without.

They looked everywhere to find that special gift for Hatter. Book stores, clothes stores, kitchen stores, table stores, tea stores, crumpet stores…but it seemed Hatter really had everything. But they weren't about to give up.

"I've got an idea, Alice," Hare said as he pulled her into a bow tie store, "Hatter has worn the same bow tie for the past few years and it might be time for a change."

"Do you know what he would like?" Alice asked.

"No idea…" Hare sighed, "But if we look around, I'm sure we will find something."

So they looked through every bow rack, every bow box, and talked to every bow salesperson. They ended up quite short handed in the end. True, every bow tie was very nice and some they could even picture him wearing. But when it came down to it, none of them quite matched Hatter's suit as well as the one he already owned.

"Maybe I should just give up," Hare said as they sat on a bench eating ice cream, "Hatter has everything he could ever want or need…I'll just give him a gift card and be done with it."

"Don't give up, Mr. Hare," Alice said as she patted his back, "No matter what you give Hatter, it is the thought that counts. Every present you have given him he loved dearly, and uses still."

"Yes…but it's just not the same," Hare moaned as he watched his ice cream melt. "Every year the Tweedles perform a comedy show for him, the Queen declares a day after him, Dormouse washes the dishes for him, and the cat even finds a missing item Hatter had lost long ago. I'm supposed to get the gift and I always do a terrible job."

Alice wasn't sure how to respond, so she gave his back another good pat and finished her ice cream. Soon it was getting dark and Alice had to go home. The only thing to do was to leave the city and sadly trudge back. But just as Alice was about to offer for herself to buy Hatter something from her world, Hare gasped loudly and a wide smile broke his frown.

"Alice, I just thought of the perfect gift!" Hare shouted, jumping up and down.

"What is it?" Alice asked.

"Run home and you will see for yourself tomorrow!"

So Alice went home, wondering the rest of the night what Hare had thought was the perfect gift.

The next day, everyone was gathered at Hatter's table, waiting for the birthday boy himself. Alice had brought a box of fresh baked cookies (making sure they weren't anywhere near as delicious as Grandma Hatter's cookies) and settled herself next to the Tweedles. The Queen had already declared that the second week of the next month would be "Hat Week" in his honor and had already ordered a dozen hats from him. Caterpillar sat awkwardly in the corner eating a scone peacefully while Rabbit went from here to there and back again fetching food for everyone.

Hare was no where to be found.

When Hatter finally arrived, everyone cheered. He, of course, acted surprised and told everyone he had no idea this was going to happen. Everyone accepted his delight and the tea party began. The tea was excellent (Hatter's special tea) and the food was delicious. Alice soon found herself full and content, and when the Tweedles did their act, she laughed so loud that it hurt her sides. But she could tell Hatter wasn't fully enjoying himself as much as his guests were.

"What is wrong?" She quietly asked him as their party laughed.

"Oh, it's nothing, Alice," Hatter sighed while trying to keep the wide smile on his face.

"Something is wrong," Alice told him. "I can tell."

"It's just…Hare isn't here to help me celebrate," Hatter frowned and sunk in his chair. "My best friend isn't here…I can't believe he forgot."

"I didn't forget!" Hare shouted from the woods.

Everyone looked over to see Hare running as fast as he could towards the gate while carrying a large cardboard box. He looked out of breath and sweaty, but he still wished Hatter a happy birthday and quickly led everybody into a rousing verse of the song. When the last voice had ceased, Hare stood up on a chair.

"Everyone, I am sorry I'm late," Hare started, then looked at Hatter. "I'm sorry, my friend, that I didn't arrive on time but it is because I had to get your present! Every year I've always gotten you something that you already had but this year it will be different! Hatter, please pull the string on the top of the box."

Hatter looked confused but gave Hare a big grin as he grabbed the string on top of the box. With a quick tug, the box fell open to show everyone Hatter's gift.

In the place of the box was a golden birdcage. Inside was a small purple bird with a soft green chest. Everyone cooed at the little bird and Hatter was awestruck.

"Hare…" Hatter said, "This is amazing!"

"Her name is Melody because of the way she can carry a tune," Hare grinned, "Watch this…Alice, will you please sing a few notes?"

Alice hummed a few music notes and the bird repeated them in a clear whistle. Hatter stood and gave his friend a tight hug.

"My good pal," Hatter said with his arm around Hare, "This is the best gift you have ever given me."

Hare grinned as the Hatter hummed a merry tune and Melody whistled along with him.