Reflection

Alice found him sitting in her mother's living room one morning, having let himself in with the key she had given him the week before. Cross-legged on the floor, he was staring unseeingly at the oversized mirror that he had been looking at when he first came here, so long ago now, it seemed. She watched him for a while from the doorway. Her mother was still asleep in her room, and it was still early enough that the rising sun's rays to creep across the floor to where he sat. He looked so young. He always did look young, but not quite like this. It was the way he was completely transfixed with the glass, his figure loose and relaxed, but his eyes filled with something unnameable. His hair was free, a hat sitting beside him on the floor, and certain strands just caught the light. He seemed more childlike than she had ever known him to look, and she suddenly wondered what he had actually been like as a child. Silently, she pushed herself away from the door frame, padding barefoot across the wooden flooring. Wrapping her dressing gown around her, she sat next to him on the floor, watching his reflection.

"They're everywhere," he said quietly, thoughtful."Mirrors, Looking Glasses, wha'ever you wanna call 'em. You Oysters, ya don't realise 'ow much power they have. Back there, all of 'em were sha'ered when the Queen of Hearts took over. With the right know-'ow, the Resistance could build their own rabbit hole and use it to their advantage. Any mirror, any at all, could be a door between here and Wonderland…"

"Do you miss it?"

For the first time, he looked away from the mirror, turning his head to look at her. For a moment, all the times she had feared rejection came bubbling to the surface, and she refused to look at him. Fear that his home called to him, and that he wanted to leave her, despite what he said. Yes, he had followed her here, but it must have been hard for him to leave the world he had known all his life. Even if it was a world that had decayed under the control of a cruel, uncaring monarch, it was still where he had been born, where he had grown up. And she knew, deep down, that if he wanted to go back, she would never stop him. She loved him too much to trap him.

Finally, after a long moment, she broke her stinging eyes from the reflection, turning to face him. His hair as mad as it had been when they met, and that familiarly bright smile slowly spread across his face as he laughed softly. Picking up his new hat, threw it in the air, only for it to land perfectly in place, he stood and offered her his hand, so very like he had when she stood, terrified on the side of that building just after they met. Then, she had been afraid of falling from the ledge. Now, as they both knew, she standing on a ledge too. If he wanted to leave, she would tumble down, and she didn't know if she would be able to catch herself.

But just as she did back then, she took his hand now. She trusted him to hold her steady, and so he did. Pulling her to her feet, and away from the gaping chasm of her fears, he looked her in the eye.

This was another type of falling that Alice had always been scared of.

"Alice… I'm not missing anything."

But if it was Hatter waiting to catch her.

"This is 'it'."

Then maybe... maybe falling wasn't so bad after all.

XxX

Authors notes: ...right, I don't think I quite expressed myself very well with that last bit... :/ I was kinda playing with Alice's abandonment issues. In the Audio Commentary, they were saying that her fear of heights was a common problem people that experienced after being abandoned. That's the first type of falling that I was talking about, with the ledge in Wonderland. The second is her fears of being abandoned by Hatter, as she fears everyone will

The third type is falling in love, which she fears because loving someone means to trust them not to let you fall, and to catch you. As we all know, trust isn't something Miss Hamilton is terribly good with. But Hatter is someone she trusts with her life and her heart, and knows that he's going to be there to catch her when she needs him.

Oh, and that last quote from Hatter... that's kinda snaffled from a film called "Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist". It's awesomeness itself. Go watch. But not before you review. Cos I'm ill, and each review is like medicine to me. Not even joking.