Mallymkun awoke to footsteps and giggling. She looked up at the closed lid of the teapot, frowning at the white porcelain. She knew who was there, and it didn't make her happy. Why couldn't they just leave her alone, especially now, of all times?

Well, it wasn't like they knew that she was there, so it wasn't on purpose. None of it was to make her feel bad on purpose, and Mally knew it.

But knowing it didn't make her feel any better about it. In fact, it made her feel worse.

The dormouse pieced together occurrences outside from the sounds she hears. He pulled out a chair, she sat in it. She sighed as he kissed her cheek. He climbed over the table rather than around it, she laughed.

The teapot shook with the table, and Mallymkun got to her feet and braced her hands against the lid of the pot to keep her balance. She wished that she was anywhere but there, but how could she leave now without revealing herself? Whether intentional or not, she was now an eavesdropper.

"Now, let's see if there's any tea left…" he said, in that merry voice with its slight lisp that made the dormouse feel warmer than a boiling cup of tea ever could when she heard it. She bit her lip and forced herself to stay silent and firm as he rummaged through the many teapots on the table. What did it matter how he made her feel? It didn't matter, especially not now. Maybe it could have, once, but it didn't now, not anymore.

There wasn't any tea, so, inevitably, he reached her teapot in his searches. The lid was gone, but the sunlight was just as quickly blocked again by his hand reaching into the pot, and—

And suddenly her tiny fingers were wrapped around one of his, her arm having shot out seemingly of its own accord in her incredible desire to touch what could never be hers to hold.

His playful chatter suddenly ceased as he peered down into the teapot. Mallymkun stared up at him, her dark brown eyes seeking and finding his iridescent green ones.

"What are you doing in there, Mally?" he asked, pulling his hand back out of the pot. She let his finger go, reluctantly, as she fixed her face into her usual scowl and climbed out herself.

"I was trying to take a nap," she said irritably, dropping down onto the table, her face very hot. "Looks like I'll have to try elsewhere."

"Sorry to bother you," said the girl.

The dormouse didn't want to look at her, didn't want to see the face that she hated, even as she berated herself for hating the person who made her beloved happy…

…but her face turned upwards anyway, looking at the blonde-haired beauty that her Tarrant had chosen. Her Tarrant, his Alice. The Alice, who sat there with a pleasant smile on her face and flowers woven through her hair, most likely by his hands.

"Forget about it," Mallymkun muttered, looking away again and jumping from table to chair to ground.

"Sleep well!" she heard the Hatter call laughingly as she ran off towards the dark, welcoming trees of the Tulgey Woods. She did not turn back, did not acknowledge his call. It wouldn't have mattered if she had.

The dormouse ran, and then she walked, and eventually she sat down on a tree root with a sigh. She looked down at her hand, the hand that had come into contact with his for a blessed moment, but now was as empty as ever. His hand was not meant to hold hers, but… In her dreams, maybe…

Mallymkun closed the fingers of her hand and, still staring at them, began to sing.

"Hands touch, eyes meet… Sudden silence, sudden heat… Hearts leap in a giddy whirl… He could be that boy, but I'm not that girl,"

She slid off of the root and began to walk again.

"Don't dream too far. Don't lose sight of who you are. Don't remember that rush of joy. He could be that boy, I'm not that girl."

She'd reached the brook, the friendly little babbling brook that winded its way through the Woods without a care. The dormouse leaned against a tree, staring down into the water.

"Ev'ry so often we long to steal to the land of what-might-have-been, but that doesn't soften the ache we feel when reality steps back in…"

The face that stared back up at her out of the water: plain white fur, dull brown eyes; a face that usually held a serious glare or a disgruntled pout. Not a face that a man could ever love, not even her very extraordinary man…

"Blithe smile, lithe limb… She who's winsome, she wins him. Gold hair with a gentle curl… That's the girl he chose, and heaven knows, I'm not that girl."

She wished that things were different. If only the face staring back were a human one; a charming, beautiful human. If only Tarrant would look at her and see the woman of his dreams. If only her feelings were reciprocated. If only, if only, if only…

"Don't wish!" she scolded herself, pulling her gaze away from the brook. "Don't start! Wishing only wounds the heart…"

But the things that she wanted so much, the things that she could never have…

"I wasn't born for the rose and the pearl."

It was true. She was a dormouse, just a dormouse. Not one to be the receiver of love.

"There's a girl I know, he loves her so… I'm not that girl."

A wise insect once said that tears never solved anything. The dormouse knew this. She knew many things, far too many things.

One of which was that, right now, she needed to cry.