For the last two chapters of Heart and Sole (Chapter 24 & Chapter 25), Hamish's POV comes first and Alice's second.

Chapter 25: Alice

In all the years they have been wed, Tarrant has never spent a night away from Alice. Tonight is no exception.

He arrives late, long after Diana and Edan have been put to bed, and Alice waits in the kitchen – soaking her aching feet in a basin of warm water which Tarrant had insisted upon fetching from the bath house for her – as he looks in on his daughter and son.

"Only pleasant dreams?" she asks him when he returns and sinks down beside her on the cushioned bench. He wraps a dusty-smelling arm around her shoulders and tucks her against his body.

"Oh, yes," he lisps softly. "Spun sugar and sprinklings of cinnamon."

Alice smiles. Despite her exhaustion – and looking after two rambunctious children for the majority of the day, and with a third occasionally kicking and shifting in her belly, is exhausting and she's very glad Tarrant rarely makes the trip to Marmoreal anymore – she feels utterly content.

"And how was your day?"

"Full of deliverance," he replies with humor.

"Of the hat kind?" she presses.

Tarrant leans his head against hers and elaborates, "And of the homecoming kind."

"Hamish was well-received?"

Tarrant hums softly. "Oh, yes. So well-received that he may never be released again."

Alice takes a breath, intending to press for details, but pauses when Tarrant reaches for his satchel and removes a wrapped parcel from it. He places it upon the kitchen table for Alice to open, which she does with periodic, questioning glances sent his way. Only Tarrant's sparkling, green eyes hint that there is something pleasing to be found within, so she removes the paper covering it and finds herself staring at—

"Oh, no," she breathes out in an odd mix of anticipation and horror.

"I'm afraid so, my Alice."

Alice sets the framed photograph down upon the tabletop and turns away from the image of the three people therein. While it is wonderful to have their wedding photo back again, Alice knows it could only mean one thing.

"She will marry him."

"It's rather a foregone conclusion."

Alice sighs, feeling put-upon, but also happy about it. "I'll have to call him 'your Majesty', won't I?"

"I think, for you, he would make an exception," Tarrant consoles her, grinning so widely she rather thinks he'd be able to speak with his ears.

"It's too bad about the rest of it," Alice muses, playfully baiting her husband.

"Hm? What's that?"

"You'd best be on the lookout for when Hamish realizes it really has been only five years and a bit since we last saw him."

Tarrant has the audacity to grin. "An' when tha' time comes, I'll b' ver' pleased teh let him see how ver' much I luv mae wife." And when Tarrant places his hand upon her belly and whispers hotly in her ear, Alice can't bring herself to mind. Her husband is charming and gentle and caring and kind – he is also mad and audacious and stubborn and incorrigible – and she would not have him any other way.

A year later, the White Queen and her consort, Sir Hamish, wed. The ceremony is elaborate and breathtaking. Alice stands beside Tarrant as they listen to the exchange of vows. Diana, holding onto Alice's hand, twirls a bit back and forth and back and forth, playing with the ribbons on her sun hat. Edan clings to his papa's knees, giggling to himself at all the strange people in their midst. Amelia – exhausted from all the hullabaloo – dozes in her father's arms. It is a beautiful moment, a perfect moment, and Alice marvels that she is sharing it with her husband and their children.

She huffs out a sigh in mock irritation. Blast it all. Not only is she going to have to call Hamish "your Majesty" but she's going to have to thank him as well, because – without his friendship – none of this would have been possible.

Oddly enough, when she mentions this to the White King after congratulating him on his marriage, he chuckles warmly and replies, "I could say the same, Cousin Alice."

She smiles back and retorts, "Then why don't you, Cousin Hamish?"

Once again, that haughty look is back as he banters, "I believe I just did."

Alice isn't sure how many of his subjects would dare to roll their eyes at him, but she's sure it's a select few.

She documents the day in a series of sketches which take her weeks to complete in between bedtimes and baths and the learning of letters and maths, but when they are done, they are sent off to their new homes. One illustration finds itself atop the mantle beside Alice and Tarrant's wedding photograph in Iplam. Another is framed and hung in a place of reverence in Marmoreal Palace. And a third, with a little help from a smiling tabby cat, makes its way to London where it is regarded with perplexity – but only briefly! – before Lady Ascot proudly announces her new connection to royalty.

There are many more sketches which are delivered over the years, for there is no end to the joy to be found in a wonderful, impossible place called Underland.

The End