The Hatters Take Las Vegas, by Casy Dee ©
A/N: Hi everyone! I know it has been a long time since I've ventured back into Alice-land, and I've missed you all! This little fic is set directly after my chaptered fic "Forever," but you don't have to read that in order to follow along with this one (although I'd like you to.) Hatter and Alice have just tied the knot, and Alice's mother has given them a lovely gift… a honeymoon in Vegas! Lights, shows, gambling… what could possibly go wrong?
Still wrapped in the warm fog of his dreams, Hatter rolled over in his nest of tangled sheets and reached out for Alice. He'd been having the most lovely dream that she had married him, and he was loathe to break the gossamer spell and wake further, but he wanted her near him. It was his favorite thing, to drowse with her in his arms, slowly breaking the bonds of sleep as desire grew between soft kisses and caresses. Instead of Alice's small form snuggled next to him, his hand found empty bed and cold sheets. His brow furrowed, where is Alice? He sat upright, his confusion at finding her missing dissipating the last vestiges of sleep. Last night… they'd gotten married, and she should be next to him. That was no dream.
"Alice?" he called out, trying to hide the note of worry that finding her missing always caused.
"In the kitchen."
He gave a relieved smile, untangled himself from the bedclothes and duvet, then went to join her.
Alice looked up as Hatter padded into the kitchen, clad only in his purple paisley boxers riding low on his hips. Her husband. Her delicious husband. She gave him a long lingering look, starting from the top of his mop of dark hair, to his handsome face, still creased with indentions from the sheets, down the taut wiry muscles of his chest and arms, his flat stomach, strong legs and finally down to his rather large bare feet.
He passed a hand through his wildly sleep-mussed hair, "Oh, please tell me there is tea, love. Please."
Alice rolled her eyes and pointed to the cup she'd just poured him as she'd waited for him to join her in the kitchen, "I was just about to wake you. We have a plane to catch, and we didn't even pack last night."
He grinned, his dimple flashing in his cheek, "To the place that ya said was as close to Wonderland as your world gets, yeah?"
She nodded, her lips twitching with barely repressed laughter, "Yeah. Las Vegas. They even have a motto, 'what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,' which means-"
Hatter gave a short laugh, "I think I can suss it out, thanks very much."
Alice snorted derisively, "I'll bet you can," she murmured.
Hatter took a deep swig of his tea and let that one slide. It was far too early for verbal jousting with his Alice, as fun as that could be. His brain needed tea to function after such little sleep, and it wouldn't do to engage her when he wasn't fully prepared for a battle of wits. She'd tear him to bits.
"We can pick up something to eat at the airport. We have to be there two hours early, at least. It will give us something to do while we wait."
Hatter nodded, "Toast and marmalade, more tea, and then we pack. Sorted."
He finished his tea in one swallow and then pulled her towards him, enfolding her in his arms, "First, you have to give your husband a proper good morning kiss, don't ya?" he asked, his voice a low invitation. He brushed his lips over the pulse point on her neck.
Alice shivered, "You want more than a kiss," she accused.
She felt his lips form a smile against her skin, "Mmmmhmm," he agreed.
Well, I can pack pretty quickly when I have to, she rationalized, giving in to his soft lips and warm embrace.
Hatter pulled Alice a little closer to his body as they entered the airport, a task made more difficult by the fact that they were both toting carry-ons. Luckily, they were able to check their bags curbside so they didn't have to cart them through the airport. Alice had been adamant that Hatter fit what he needed in one large suitcase plus one they split between them and a carry-on bag, but it was still quite a lot to manage. She glanced up at him, noting the tightening of his mouth and the way his eyes darted around as if assessing a possible escape route… which he probably was. He hated crowds. Last time he'd been to an airport, it had been brief and off the peak hours. He'd never seen it like this; she probably should have thought to warn him.
"Alice? So why exactly are we here two hours before we fly off?" he asked. He didn't relish the idea of being surrounded by the large press of people for so long before they could be on their way. Perhaps they could wait outside?
Alice blinked, taken aback. He'd never flown himself before, just seen the pick-up and drop-off areas. He'd assimilated so well that it was easy for her to forget most days that Hatter wasn't a native to her world. He was well read, and his mind absorbed knowledge blindingly fast. It had been a long time since he'd needed her to explain anything to him.
He nodded thoughtfully and then lifted an eyebrow, looking pointedly at the mass of people flowing around them in a steady stream, "For who?"
Alice laughed, "Good question. Come on, we need to get checked in and go through the security checkpoint. We'll be standing in line for ages; I'll explain on the way. Oh! And," she leaned in close to whisper in his ear, "don't say bomb, gun, knife, weapon, or anything else that could be considered a threat."
He pulled back and gave her an incredulous look, "Ya kiddin'?"
She shook her head, "No," she narrowed her eyes, "Matter of fact, try not to say anything."
He started to laugh, but then realized she was deadly serious. He held up his hands in surrender, "All right, love. Lips are sealed."
By the time they made it through the security queue, Hatter was convinced that Alice gave good advice. These people were really serious about the whole security thing. He understood the comfortable clothes bit; it was a long flight. Jeans and one of his soft silk paisley shirts was a good choice, but after padding in stocking feet through the scanner, he got why she had advised him to wear his slip on ankle boots.
The scanner was an easy choice; he sure as hell wasn't going to let anyone pat him down. Unfortunately, some other people weren't so lucky as to get a choice. He'd shaken his head to see an eighty year old woman get patted down along with a three year old boy, but he supposed anyone could be suspect. Perhaps someone had used them unawares, or at least, that's what he told himself to keep his mouth glued shut. It didn't make him feel that much safer, to be honest. He could have easily got a weapon past their checks, but he heeded Alice's advice and saved that little tidbit of information for when they were safely ensconced in their hotel room.
Thankfully, the crowds thinned out considerably once they were past the checkpoint. Hatter felt the tightening in his shoulders loosen somewhat and he forced himself to relax further; old habits die hard, and they'd had a rough go of things lately. For once, no one was trying to kill them, and besides, there were security people everywhere. He needed to let the paranoia go and enjoy this rare bit of holiday with his Alice. He adjusted his black fedora and found a smile for Alice; he could do this.
When he'd first heard that Alice's world had proper air transport, he'd envisioned something similar to the scarabs of his world. All the images from television and films had told him otherwise. He wished he'd had more time to research it now that he was going to actually fly in one of the contraptions, but they had been otherwise occupied last night, all last night, and he hadn't the time.
What Hatter did know that this world's version of air travel was much faster than by scarab, but also less comfortable, and he supposed the rest he'd learn by doing. He and Alice had watched the film Airplane before, and that was where he'd gotten most of his knowledge. She'd assured him that it was a parody and things really weren't like that, but if the co-pilot was named Roger, he was going to say the hell with air travel and that was that. They'd find another way to their honeymoon.
They found a little café that was fairly empty and sat down to have a quiet overpriced breakfast and watch the planes taxi and fly off. He and Alice passed the time whilst they waited chatting about Las Vegas. Carol had gotten them some sort of package that included a couple of shows, and free buffet anytime they wanted, and Alice mentioned that they one of the things they had to do was to spend a night at a casino playing the slot machines. They were in Las Vegas after all. Hatter was much fonder of cards, and it had been a long time since he'd gotten a good game. It helped that he was able to keep track of the cards inside his head… a useful skill that had stood him in good stead in the past until most Wonderlanders began refusing to play against him. Perhaps he could even win some money whilst they were in Las Vegas.
Before long their gate was calling for passengers to board. Hatter followed Alice's lead, trailing her closely into the belly of the aircraft, down the narrow isle and to their designated seats. Hatter eyed the passenger compartment dubiously, noting the row of three seats on one side and two on the other. He heaved a sigh of relief when the ticket number matched a row with only two seats, thankful they wouldn't be seated by a stranger.
"I don't like the window," Alice said as she gestured for him to take a seat.
Hatter looked as if he wanted to ask why but he took one look at the queue of impatient people behind him waiting to take their seats and slid into his seat without comment. Alice gave him a pained smile and sat next to him. She really didn't like to fly. She didn't mind so much when they were in the air as long as she didn't think about it too much, but the take off and the landings were a different matter. Seeing just how fast the landscape whizzed by them didn't help matters.
"The flying thing?" he guessed.
She gave a short nod.
He reached out and captured her hand in his, giving silent reassurance that he was with her.
"Well this is… cozy, in't it?" Hatter murmured.
Alice nodded, "Only five and a half hours to go, once we take off."
Hatter leaned in close, "And I have to stay in me seat the whole time?"
Alice smiled a little; she wasn't the only one that wouldn't enjoy the flight. Hatter was not well suited to inaction; the only time he was still was when he was absorbed in a book. Luckily, she had a solution for him. Her friend Erica had given her loan of her electronic book reader preloaded with a giant library of books. She and Hatter shared a few favorite authors so Alice was certain he would be well occupied. She planned to sleep.
"Yeah, for the most part. You'll be able to get up once we're at cruising altitude, but that's just to go to the bathroom or maybe stretch."
Hatter sighed, "Why is flying better, again?" he asked plaintively, trying to distract her from her own case of nerves.
"Because it was a gift from Mom, and because we'd spend half our honeymoon driving."
She opened up her carry-on and pulled out the e-reader, "Here. You can thank Erica for lending it to you. That should keep you occupied so I can sleep."
He gave her a crooked grin, "You trying to keep me occupied?"
She gave a short laugh, "Someone has to."
His grin diminished to an amused smirk, "Well feel free to use me shoulder as a pillow, and I'll do my best not to disturb you."
Alice looked into his dark chocolate brown eyes, laughter dancing behind them despite the fact that she knew he was uncomfortable surrounded by all these people in such tight quarters, and her heart melted. He had the singular ability to evoke that sort of response in her, and always had. Her eyes dropped to his soft Cupid's bow lips. She gave into the urge to plant a soft kiss there.
"Mmm. What was that for?" he asked.
Alice just smiled and laid her head on his shoulder.
Their plane arrived without incident, though Hatter wondered if he'd ever get all the knots out of his shoulders. He stifled a groan as he raised his hands over his head and gave a deep joint-popping stretch as soon as they were out of the main flow of traffic of people exiting the aircraft. Being shoved in a tin with all those people for nearly six hours was akin to one of his worst nightmares. Even worse, he knew Alice hated to fly and if she knew how much he was bothered then she'd have an even harder time dealing with her own anxiety, so he just shut his mouth and tried to play calm.
Despite her claim that she'd gotten much better with controlling her fear of heights and flying since her trip to Wonderland, she'd held on to his hand the entire flight, even when she dropped off into a light doze. She'd nearly broken the bones in his hand during the take-off and landing. She confided that she used to have to give herself a Benadryl and Dramamine cocktail in order to get through plane rides, but now she just closed the window shades if she was in the window seat and tried to sleep through it. She looked just as happy as he was when the jet rolled to a stop and they were able to disembark.
Hatter and Alice rescued their luggage from the carousel and then hailed a taxicab to their hotel. Hatter was looking forward to getting checked in. Carol had put them up in someplace called the Luxor, and Alice seemed to be pretty excited to be staying there, but all Hatter wanted at the moment was a meal, then a steaming hot shower, preferably with Alice. He was starving, his head ached and his nerves were drawn so tight that he'd even snapped at Alice when she asked him for the third time if he was all right.
"M'sorry love. Just a bit peckish is all. I didn't mean to-"
Alice held up a hand to forestall him, "I know. We'll get something at the hotel buffet as soon as we check in. No waiting, and no more grouchy Hatter."
He smiled ruefully, "I'll just shut up then, yeah?"
She arched an eyebrow, "Probably a good idea."
Alice rested a hand on the nape of his neck and stroked her fingers through his hair. He closed his eyes and let out a contented sigh as she began to massage his neck and shoulders. He wasn't fooling her. She knew the flight had been rough on him; she'd grant him a little bit of forgiveness for acting snippy. He let out a low moan of appreciation as she kneaded his tight shoulders, and she knew she'd forgive him almost anything if he'd just make that sound for her again.
They had a week of leisure planned out, and she was determined to wring every drop of pleasure from it she could. Hatter worked entirely too hard, and it had been too long since she'd seen his gorgeous broad grin free from the tinge of worry and sadness he'd been carrying for longer than she'd like. This was a new start for them, and she was determined to make this honeymoon the respite they both needed.
A/N: So we have our stage set. *grins* I hope you enjoyed this! Please tell me if you did? It feeds the muse and encourages me to write faster… you do want me to write faster, don't you?
A/A/N: Oh! And I got a short story picked up for publication! I'll be in a literary magazine that debuts in 2012. I'll post details on my profile as I get them. :D And it was thanks to readers that encouraged me that I decided to give it a shot. *hugs* Thank you!