Sorry about the cheesy title. Couldn't resist ;)

Yes I know, Christmas is months away (and yet, there are Christmas cards already in the shops), but this just came to me and I had to write it down. And I had to get it out before others started writing their own Christmas stories with similar plots.

Just to say, this has nothing to do with my 'Alice's Wonderland' series. This oneshot is a stand alone story.

I hope you all like it!


Winter Wonderland

It was cold. Ice cold. Snow was settled on the ground, representing that Christmas would soon arrive, and everyone was preparing for the festivities. Everyone but one.

The Mad Hatter sat alone at the tea tables, waiting, hoping, that his Alice would come to him (he wasn't sure when he had started calling her his Alice, but he didn't stop, for it felt right). His dark eyes scanned the tea tables; the snow had completely covered the table cloth, settled inside the various teacups, and the bitter cold had frozen the tea and scones solid. But the Hatter didn't care. He didn't even care that the snow had settled on his shoulders and the rim of his hat.

"Merry Christmas, Alice," he softly spoke, his voice faltering from the cold.

He knew that Alice wasn't there. But what else was he supposed to do? It was Christmas Eve, and he hoped – knew – that Alice was coming home to him. He knew Alice. And she would be coming.

"Tarrant, do come inside, it's bitterly cold out here."

The Hatter was too stiff to turn and snap at the Cheshire Cat, who had appeared next to his shoulder from out of nowhere. Chessur had been watching the Hatter from the window of the March Hare's home, and although he didn't like to admit it, he was worried for his old friend. Sure, no one aged in Underland, but that still didn't mean one couldn't freeze to death.

"I must wait for her," the Hatter told him. "She's coming. I know she is."

Chessur sighed. He knew who the Hatter was referring to, but he also knew – like everyone else did – that there was a small chance of Alice returning at this time. For the Rabbit Hole was no doubt covered in a thick layer of snow; it would be a miracle if Alice found it.

"Then you can wait for her inside," he explained. "Believe me, Tarrant. Alice would be most upset if she arrived and found you had frozen to death."

"I won't freeze to death, and what do you mean by 'if'?" the Hatter snapped, his Scottish brogue surfacing. "She is coming."

"You will, and don't be so sure," Chessur informed him, before disappearing.

The Hatter refused to believe him. He could feel that Alice was ready to return, and that she would. It was Christmas, after all; Christmas was made for miracles.

He was unsure how long he sat there in silence after Chessur disappeared; it could have been hours, it could have been minutes. But however long it was, the Hatter swore he heard the sound of snow crunching underneath someone's feet. He was being approached.

Could it be his Alice, returning at last? The Hatter didn't want to get his hopes up, so remained still. His coat was faded to match the dull colour of his chair; if it was someone else, then maybe they wouldn't see him. So he kept his head down and waited in silence.

The person stopped at the end of the tea tables, and from what the Hatter could make out, just stood there in dead silence. The Hatter remained still, waiting for the person to at least speak or give him some clue as to who it was.

"I'm too late."

It was her. It was her. His Alice had returned at last. He knew she would! But there was something missing...

The Hatter looked up. There she was, standing in nothing but a simple dress, and looking down with despair. She brought her arms up to her side and began to rub up and down to keep herself warm. Yes, there was definitely something missing, the Hatter decided. It wasn't her muchness; that was still there. It was something else. Something deeper.

"You're not. In fact, you're right on time."

Alice looked up immediately, and her eyes met the Hatter's bright green ones. The sadness on her face was replaced by relief and pure happiness, and with a shrill cry, she began to run. The stiffness which had frozen the Hatter to his seat left him immediately, and he stood up in time to open his arms and allow Alice to run into them, both embracing one another in a hug.

"Hatter, you're so cold," Alice realized.

"I'm used to it," the Hatter assured her, remembering all the Underland winters he sat through whilst waiting for Alice to return to slay the Jabberwocky. "But you are cold as well, sweet Alice. Why did you not wrap in something warmer?"

"I didn't have time," Alice replied, looking down.

The Hatter's eyes immediately turned dark blue. There was most definitely something wrong. He knew what was missing from his Alice; her happiness. Sadness and sorrow had replaced it.

"What happened?" he asked.

Alice kept her face turned away from him as she began.

"Well, I had planned a trip to China once winter was over, in order to expand my father's company," she explained. "I wanted to spend Christmas with my family, you see. But my mother fell ill with flu, and she...died."

"Alice..."

The Hatter didn't know what to say. He knew what it was like to lose family all too well.

"Alice, I'm so sorry. But now I can give you the comfort you need."

"That's not why I returned," Alice continued. "I was planning to stay a bit longer to keep my sister company, since she was distraught, until I found out what my mother and Lady Ascot had decided. That so I was taken care of after she passed, I was to marry Hamish whether I liked it or not. When I was told, I just ran out into the snow storm and didn't stop until I arrived at the hole. It was covered in snow, but I refused to let that stop me from returning."

"Oh, Alice..."

The Hatter really didn't know what to say. But he knew that he had to comfort Alice when she needed him the most. He pulled back, and seeing the tears in her eyes, wiped them away before they froze in the cold.

"I'm here for you, and I always will be," he told her.

Alice didn't hesitate to hug him again. Keeping his hold on her, the Hatter lifted her into his arms bridal style and carried her towards the windmill, where his friends would be waiting for them. He used his foot to kick the door open, and almost immediately, the laughter fell silent.

Thackery had been juggling Christmas decorations, but he dropped them when the Hatter walked in with Alice in his arms. Mallymkun was speechless, and Chessur just grinned widely.

"Well, I see we have been proven wrong," he commented. "Alice has indeed returned at last."

"And she's freezing," the Hatter informed the cat. "Thackery, fetch some warm tea, and quickly."

The Hare leapt up from his seat and hurried into the kitchen. Usually the Hatter wouldn't trust the Hare with such a task, but he knew Thackery well enough to know that when it was important, the Hare could calm himself down quite considerably. The Hatter placed Alice down in a chair right next to the fire and wrapped her in a warm blanket. Thackery came back with the tea in his paws and handed it to the Hatter, who in turn, handed it to Alice. She took a sip.

"Feel better?" the Hatter asked.

"Much, thank you," she thanked, smiling at him.

"It is good to see you again, Alice," Chessur spoke, appearing next Alice.

"Just in time, as well," Mallymkun said. "It's Christmas tomorrow."

"Deck the halls with bells and holly! Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la!" Thackery sang.

Alice giggled at the Hare's antics.

"Will we be having any Christmas Carollers?" she asked with a hint of humour.

"Probably not, unless the Tweedles decide to bless us with their...not-so-well singing," the Hatter replied. "It was my family who used to walk through Underland on Christmas Eve, singing Carols for everyone..."

He trailed off. Alice, seeing the sadness in his eyes, placed a hand on top of his.

"Hatter."

"I'm fine," he assured her, drawing back from his reminiscing.

"Enough of this depression," Chessur decided. "Let's enjoy Christmas Eve while Time keeps it here."

And they did. Thackery performed his juggling for Alice, which ended with him dropping the Christmas decorations and Alice laughing at him. They told jokes; Alice told some from her world, and the others told some from theirs. And they finished the evening by placing out a plate of scones and some tea for Father Christmas. Despite what her mother and sister told her, Alice continued to believe in Father Christmas past her childhood, and still did. And even if he didn't exist in her world, she had no doubt that he would in Underland.

"Don't people usually leave out a glass of milk and a mince pie?" Alice questioned, remembering all her Christmases when she was younger.

"Milk and mince pies?" the Hatter questioned. "Whoever heard of such a silly thing!"

Alice just laughed. It was time to turn in, and while Chessur settled himself down on the rug (but not falling asleep quite yet), Thackery collapsed onto the sofa and Mallymkun climbed into a teapot covered in a tea cosy. The Hatter put out the fire ("We wouldn't want Father Christmas to burn his bottom, would we?" he had told Alice), and took Alice's hand.

"Would you like me to show you to your room?" he asked.

Alice smiled, which was enough of an answer for him. The Hatter led Alice up the stairs, and once on the landing, Alice noticed three doors. One she assumed was the bathroom, and the other two bedrooms.

"Thackery has always slept on the sofa, leaving a room for me and a spare room," the Hatter explained. "You can have the spare room."

"Thank you, Hatter," Alice thanked him, turning so that their faces were just inches away from one another.

Neither were quite sure what to do, and the Hatter could feel his eyes change to a mixture of dark blue and purple. It was then that something appeared above them, and looking up, they saw mistletoe hanging in mid air above them.

"Mistletoe," Alice spoke aloud. "And we're under it."

They locked eyes again. The Hatter was unsure what made him do it, but he found himself leaning in, with Alice doing the same. Their lips touched, and a wide grin appeared above them next to the mistletoe, before it disappeared again.

Neither Alice nor the Hatter noticed as their kiss grew more passionate; the Hatter pulled Alice closer to him, running his hands through her hair and Alice tangling her fingers in his. Then the Hatter began to caress her. His hands gentle rubbed up and down her arms and waist, and Alice found herself moaning at the sudden pleasure. But then he stopped.

"Hatter?" Alice asked, quite disappointed that he had stopped.

The Hatter was looking at her with a mortified expression.

"Alice...I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have taken you like that, it was a very slurvish thing for me to do, and I won't do it again, I promise, for you've only just arrived here, and the last thing you would want is to be kissed by a crazed, mad, estranged-"

"Hatter!"

"I'm fine."

Alice just gave him a shocked look. Why did he have so little self-esteem? She guessed it was the madness.

"Hatter, I want you to do it again," she told him. "I love you."

The Hatter looked at her, shocked, and Alice could see his eyes changing a number of different colours, before finally settling back on that dark blue/purple colour again.

"And I love you too, my Alice."

They kissed again, only this kiss was soft and sweet. The Hatter broke it when he suddenly remembered something.

"Oh, I almost forgot!" he remembered, taking something from his pocket. "I know presents should be opened tomorrow, but I can't wait!"

He handed Alice a small box. She looked at it, then at the Hatter, and then at the box again. When he gave her a nod, she opened it, and gasped. Inside was a beautiful silver necklace, the charm in the shape of a small cup and saucer. Alice felt tears of happiness well up in her eyes.

"Oh, Hatter. It's...it's..."

The Hatter's face immediately fell, for he had seen her tears, and had taken them the wrong way.

"You don't like it."

"Oh no, Hatter!" Alice corrected him. "I think it's beautiful."

She took it out of the box and unclipped it.

"Here, allow me," the Hatter offered.

Alice turned and gave the necklace to him, and he placed it around her neck and clipped it up again.

"Merry Christmas, Alice."

His hands lingered there for longer, and they rubbed against her arms as he began to kiss her neck. Alice closed her eyes and rolled her head back so that it was leaning on his shoulder. It just felt so good and...so right.

Then something occurred to Alice, and she pulled away.

"What is it, Alice?" the Hatter asked, hoping he hadn't gone too far.

"I just remembered," she said. "I never got you anything for Christmas."

"Alice," the Hatter began, pulling her back into him, "you returning to me is all I could ever have asked for. And you have. It is the best gift I have ever received."

And yet, Alice didn't feel satisfied. She wanted to give him...more. So much more.

"That's all well and good, Hatter," she told him, "but not only have I returned to you, I am giving myself to you."

"Giving? Alice, what in Underland..."

Then it occurred to him. His eyes grew wide, but they also turned more purple than before. He suspected what she was implying, and her wicked grin just confirmed it.

"Alice, my sweet Alice, are you sure?" he asked.

"I have never been so sure of anything in my whole life," she replied, her grin growing wider. "Hatter, I accepted your gift, and now I ask that you accept mine, and enjoy it. Merry Christmas Hatter...Tarrant."

Within seconds, he was carrying her into his room bridal style. And when they woke up the next morning, they felt like they were in a true Winter Wonderland.


Hoped you all liked it! And if any of you want to write an M-rated scene to go with it, then feel free. Just tell me first and send it to me so I can approve of it. I read M-rated scenes/stories, but I just don't write it.

Reviews make the writer happy!