Summer Heat by NeonChandelier

June 7 2011

Disclaimer- Alice in the Country of Hearts is not mine and as much as I would love to own Boris, I don't.

Cats paw (repeatedly treading on a spot - often it's owner) to mark their territory. Cats sweat through the bottom of their paws and rub this off as a marking mechanism.

Cats are some of the smartest animals and can interpret a human's mood and feelings.

Alice grumbled to herself as she rubbed her forehead with the back of her hand. She was glistening with sweat, causing her dress to cling to her in the most annoying way, and she just knew that her face must be beat red from all of her frantic activity earlier in the day. She would be flushed, she thought, as she headed to the amusement park's restroom and splashed cold water into her eyes. Still not happy with how she looked or felt, she tore the bow from her head and slipped off her shoes and striped stockings, sure that she would be scolded by either Blood or Julius when they saw her in such a state of undress but unable to make herself care.

She snorted to herself. If they could pull out guns over every little thing and hire assassins to solve their problems for them, then she could wander around without her bloody stockings! Sick of the itching of her wrist as well, she slipped off her lacy bracelet and untied the apron from her waist before tying it all up in a bundle and heading back out into the busy park with the white make-shift sac held beneath her right arm.

If she had been in the castle, Vivaldi's servants would no doubt have told her to put her clothing back on but here, where Mary Gowland was in charge, those visiting and working at the amusement park just smiled and waved, pulling her onto their favourite rides and handing her brightly coloured snacks that cooled her off and fizzed in her mouth when she sucked on them.

Annoyingly enough, she found that when she sat on the seats of her favourite roller coaster she got stuck and her skin pulled painfully when she tried to stand back up. The ride itself had been refreshing, but this was too much for her on such a hot day and she slumped back in the seat, unwilling to move.

When she looked up she found her image reflected in the dark eyes of Boris, which were wide with excitement. His mouth was turned up into a bright smile that dominated his face, and his earrings and chain hung forward as he leaned toward her to offer his hand, which she took weakly.

Boris' face fell when he noticed how tired she seemed.

"Alice?" he asked. He held her to him with one arm causing her elbow to brush the big striped boa that he sometimes carried around with him and making her groan at the thought of such a big, fluffy, hot accessory in the middle of Summer.

"It's a hundred degrees out here Boris. Why do you have this thing on?" she asked, clutching the fur.

"It's not a hundred degrees Alice, that's silly!" his smile was as quick and easy as always, lighting up his whole face before he leaned uncomfortably close to her and brushed his forehead against hers. "Seriously, though. What's wrong Alice? Should I get a doctor?"

"Thanks for your concern Boris, but I'm alright. It's just a little hot out for me today. I'm sure I'll feel better once I go and sit in the shade." She hoped that she would. The people in this world were weird; she wasn't sure how they would treat someone who was ill and she wasn't in a hurry to find out.

He helped her over a high wooden fence to a woody area just past the edges of the park, and sat with her against a large red tree. "Better?" The anxiety in his voice prompted her to tip her head toward him and smile sweetly.

"Oh, very much so! Thanks for your help Boris. I should be okay here if you want to go have fun." No need to take up more of his time than she already had, she reasoned, brushing his red bangs back from his face and reaching up to tweak one of his furry ears. The animal appendages in the Country of Hearts still unnerved her, but watching the twitching of Boris' ears and tail as he checked out the safety of the wood that they were in was amusing. She would be lying if she said that she did not find them to be cute.

"I am having fun." One of his hands came down and began to work the muscle in her right shoulder. She closed her eyes and focused on the feeling of contentment that came over her, rather than the dryness in the back of her throat.

"You need a drink!" he exclaimed suddenly, jumping up and running back into the amusement park. Alice watched him go through half-lidded eyes, bemused. To receive so much attentiveness in the Country of Hearts was an odd thing indeed. Boris always seemed to know how she was feeling and what needed to be said or done to make her feel better. He often did very stupid things and pulled embarrassing pranks on her for his own amusement, but when it came to her feelings and her health he was always on top of everything. Very rarely did the others notice when something was wrong or knew what to do when she behaved oddly. Vivaldi would sometimes pick up on her more feminine problems and needs, but that was all. It wasn't that no one cared about her, it was simply that they were quicker to draw a weapon to solve their problems than they were to try to work through them.

None of them seemed to sweat either, no matter how hot out it was or how hard they worked, which was odd because even though they didn't have hearts they were very real, very warm people. Boris' hand print was pressed into her shoulder, and she was embarrassed to realize that it would be her sweat that was now covering them both. So gross!

A glass of cold water was pressed against the back of her neck suddenly, causing her to squeal and dive forward. She whipped around with angry eyes to yell at Boris, but he barely managed to hand her the glass before breaking into hysterics. Shaking her head, she downed half of the contents of the glass and swore revenge.

"No offense, Alice," the cat began, shaking out his pink hair and giving her a toothy grin, "But you, little outsider-human-girl, are no match for a cat like me."

"Oh yeah?" there was just enough water left in the bottom of her cup that if she really wanted to she could drench him. With a war cry she launched herself at him, catching him off guard and sending them both sprawling onto the ground while she emptied the contents of her glass onto his head.

Before she even had the chance to move he had rolled them over so she was the one pressed into the ground while he hovered over her. Their sudden proximity made her blush even more, but with her flushed face he shouldn't have been able to separate the heat of the sun from the heat of their situation.

Chuckling he leaned down and whispered softly in her ear, his earrings jingling against her face and catching her eye. His voice was nothing more than a soft purr. "Why so embarrassed Alice?" he asked.

"N-no," she stuttered out, her eyes wide. That didn't answer his question. "I'm n-not embarrassed at all, Boris." Just mortified, should anyone see them in such a compromising position.

She didn't struggle as he kept her pinned to the ground, nor did she panic. Though she was like a mouse caught by a cat, this was Boris. He liked to have fun, but he never took things too far where she was concerned. Well, sometimes he did, but all of the emotional scarring he had purposely heaved upon her had seemed harmless enough to those of his world that she didn't make a big deal out of them herself. Physically he had not harmed her, and she wasn't about to start fearing him now, no matter how unpredictable he may be.

A pink tongue darted out to taste her salty skin. It was rough, like sandpaper. Damn it! Boris was so human most of the time that she had forgotten his true nature as a cat. Apparently, he too liked to play with his prey, which didn't bode too well for her.

"See, not a match for me at all." his lips skinned her the collar of her shirt, making her shudder, and he rubbed his nose against hers in an Eskimo kiss, his face damp.

The water from her glass still clung to his face. Though cats hated water, he didn't seem in too big of a hurry to dry himself off. Something fluffy twitched against the back of her knee, making her squeal and jump up further into the cage of his arms while his tail snaked against her bare calf. She could hear the ticking of his clock against her chest before he let out a long, low growl in the back of his throat that sent her own heart racing.

He smirked triumphantly, as though he could hear her thoughts before announcing in his usual voice, "I win," and shaking his head like a dog, sprayed her with water.

He rolled off of her, laughing as she scowled at him.

"Come on Alice, don't be mad," he pleaded, one eye peeking out from beneath the hand that he had thrown onto his face to muffle his giggles.

"I'm not mad, Boris," she said, exasperated.

"You simply don't know yourself well enough to know when you're mad." he stated matter-of-factly.

What was that supposed to mean?

"I'm a cat, Alice," he said, as though that should have explained everything. "I just know you well enough to know what you're feeling. It's important for you to be happy Alice, if you're not happy, then I'm not happy either."

Apparently through with his giggle fit, he helped her to feet and guided her to the edge of the amusement park, his hand rubbing circles in her arm.

There was probably some sort of a weird cat/Boris/Role player thing that could attest to that as well, but Alice had learned enough for one day so she held back from asking and if Boris noticed her curiosity, he didn't volunteer any information.

Or it was nothing and she was just reading too much into it.

He smirked down at her, continuing to make slow circles in her arm with his fingertips. He'd been friends with Alice for long enough to know when not to say something, even with his big mouth, and as long as she didn't ask he wouldn't give himself up. Pulling away at the gate he waved goodbye, withdrawing his hand from her arm. His territory had been effectively marked for the day.

He went back to the tree to gather his new treasures. Alice was sure to want her clothing back, and he wondered what she would be willing to do to get it from him. Forgetful girl. Perhaps he would just keep them for himself.

A/N: I read the manga series online the other night and just had to write something for it. The style was gorgeous and I love the setting and the characters. I haven't played the game though, so I'm going on purely manga-verse. Does anyone know if the game is available in Canada? I would love to play it.

I hope that you all enjoyed my little fic. There just might be a follow up. Please review, if you have the time. They make me happy. :)