AN/ Welcome back to Alice Hamilton's adventures! This will be somewhat different from the Red Knight, but hopefully just as exciting. Hehehe *rubs hands together*. Enjoy! ~Eisac

Chapter One

Alice Hamilton had never felt more accomplished in all her life, unless of course you count the two times she'd helped save Wonderland. But right now was a normal, realistic thrill of accomplishment from finishing the new decorations in her house Hatter bought. It had taken almost a year since she'd returned to San Francisco and slowly with every paycheck either she or Hatter received, they were able to purchase a table here or a lamp there. Something to help complete the vibe they were striving for, a contemporary version of their own eccentric Wonderland to make Hatter feel more at home, which surprisingly hadn't been that difficult.

But finally everything was finished…except for two rooms upstairs being used as storage currently. Alice had a pretty good idea what at least one of them could be used for later, she thought placing her hand delicately on her stomach. She wasn't showing yet, but then again her doctor, Steve Langley, just spoke with her on the phone earlier informing she was six weeks along. Six weeks.

Shouldn't she have known something was amiss? If she hadn't gone in for a routine checkup, Alice might never have known. Well, that wasn't true. She'd have figured it out soon enough and so would've Hatter.

But apparently she'd been so busy with the house and helping Hatter with his tea shop—which turned out to be a very popular spot for tourists and locals alike—that she'd completely forgotten about her upcoming period. And never even noticed its arrival time fly by without any appearance. Alice feared her lack of intuition was somehow a flaw that would present itself in motherhood as well. The last thing she wanted was to screw up being a mother. But she had faith that Carol, her mother, would be a great role model. Alice always felt she could come to her with any problem and it would be thoroughly examined and then solved the best way they knew how. She only hoped she could be that reliable for her child.

Standing in the incredibly large kitchen with bay windows, cream cabinets and black granite countertops, Alice poured herself some coffee in one of the odd designed mugs Hatter sold in his shop. She really hadn't done any research and didn't know whether or not she should be drinking this much caffeine, but it was a morning ritual Alice was not yet ready to part with.

Alice could even hear Hatter now, "Shouldn't you be drinking tea instead of that horrid stuff? Tea is much more soothing for the nerves."

Yea, yea. Well, Hatter wasn't home right now and nor did he know she was with child yet. So, she'd greedily enjoy her steaming cup of joe before sitting him down tonight to give him the good news. A baby. They were going to have a baby.

She hadn't planned on it, but Alice smiled to herself and sipped the bold richness of her drink. This was going to be a memorable day. Alice couldn't wait to tell Hatter.

Even though she wanted Hatter to be the first to hear the good news, Alice grew weary of waiting. The chrome clock on the living room wall ticked by the seconds loudly, making it harder and harder to contain her little secret growing inside her. There was one person Hatter wouldn't mind knowing before him, but when Alice phoned her mother there was no answer. Perhaps she's gone to lunch or in a meeting, she thought.

And there was no way she could tell the people at her own work before the father…that just wouldn't be right. She wasn't working today anyways.

Alice sighed and grabbed a book from the shelves surrounding their entertainment center. A simple romance to keep her satisfied for a bit. Anything to occupy her mind until Hatter returned.

About two hours later, when Carlton was finally going to kiss the heiress, Sarah, in the book, the doorbell rang. Alice grumbled and tossed the thick novel down on the wrought iron coffee table at her knees. She hadn't been expecting anyone this afternoon and hoped it wasn't Jehovah's Witness or something. She respected people's motivation to have doors constantly slammed in their faces and then continue ringing doorbells despite, but it was annoying to be bothered when you weren't interested.

When Alice opened the door that last thing she expected to see was a large guy in a beige trench coat. A gust of wind pelted against her face and blew the door right out of her hand. It was a bit chilly for the month of October in San Francisco. Normally it's in the seventies, but it felt like the fifties or lower.

The man grumbled and held his coat closer together at the throat. Despite his wide shoulders and massive height, he seemed rather harmless. But Alice never let her guard down; she'd seen men like this one turn dangerous in an instant before. "Can I help you?"

"Yes, I'm Detective Ray McCarthy from the SFPD and I would like to speak with you. May I come in?" He flipped his badge and ID out. It appeared genuinely familiar; since her work had different police officers visit before to show the younger children methods of self defense.

"What's this about?" Alice asked closing the door behind him. This couldn't be good whatever it was. Never responding, he let himself into the living room to sit down in the chair Alice had occupied earlier.

"If you could have a seat ma'am…" he motioned towards the couch across the room. McCarthy rubbed his eyes with course fingers, breathed deeply and took out a small leather notebook from his inner jacket pocket.

Alice suddenly became very nervous.

"You are Alice Hamilton, correct?" His pen was out now, guiding him through his notes.

"Yes, I am."

"Your father disappeared some twelve years ago."

"He did, but he's been gone so long. What does it matter now?" Alice kept to herself, her discovery two years ago of where her father had been and then of course his death. It's best just to let people think he'd run out on her and her mother.

McCarthy nodded his head and made a mark on the notebook. "Just making sure our records are correct. You haven't heard anything from him?"

"No," Alice lied.

The man looked tired as he ran his hand over his face once more. "Look, there is no easy way to say this and I was hoping you had your father here to help you through this, but your mother, Carol Hamilton, was murdered last night."

Alice's heart stopped beating all together, her ears clogged up and eyes fogged over. Did she hear him right? "What?"

"I am so sorry to tell you this. We got a call saying one of her neighbors had found your mother, but when we got there she was already dead."

The room was now spinning and Alice had to breathe very slowly to keep from throwing up. "How?" she whispered after a few minutes.

"It was a…robbery." Alice didn't like the way he'd said that; almost as if he were holding back something from her. Something he didn't want to share because it was so gruesome to think of? Something too horrible that not even her daughter would be able to stomach?

And she couldn't. Alice ran to the kitchen and emptied her stomach's contents down the drain, which was mostly just her earlier cup of coffee. She rested her head against the cold metal of the sink and felt the burning tears surface. Her mother was dead. Carol was dead.