* Secret Letter *

Series - Disney's Adventures in Wonderland

Sum up - the Hatter finds a letter that Alice had never intended for him to see. Alice is in her 20's in this fic, btw.

Contains - Some slight mature content, plus HatterXAlice romantic moments.. Yur warned.. n_n

Disclaimer - I don't own Disney's AIW or its characters in any way..

Rated T [for Teen]


Alice Liddle took a seat on a patch of grass in the Wonderland woods with a medium sized bag at her side. She had found the perfect scenery for a new picture that she was planning on drawing. She took her pencils and art pad from the bag and flipped the sketch pad open to a blank sheet of paper. With a quick, but steady hand, she began to sketch out the scenery before her, letting her dark green eyes take in every detail. Occasionally, she'd have to push her long, dark strawberry blond hair back to keep it from falling in the way of her vision. The picture didn't take her more than twenty minutes to complete and once she was finished, she looked over the details once more, then put the art supplies away in the bag.

She picked herself up off the ground, brushing some dirt away from her light blue dress and white pinafore, picked up her bag, then looked around her. Wonderland was oddly quiet today, except for a few birds singing in the colorful trees around her. She had been on her way to visit the Hatter and Hare before the beautiful scenery caught her eyes. She felt rather pleased that she'd brought her art supplies with her on this trip. Now, having nothing more to do, she began to make her way toward Hatter's house. She didn't come across any other Wonderland inhabitants like she'd expected to.

As expected, Hatter and Hare were outside Hatter's house, standing by his long tea table. Both of them were looking over what appeared to be a remarkably long, thin list that was unrolled half way down the table, Hare was holding a pen to it.

"Why should we get four? We're only gonna use one.." Hatter was saying.

"True, for now, but what about later?" Hare replied. "You know how often you tend to change your mind.."

"I do not.."

"You do to.."

"I do not, Hare.."

"Umm.. Excuse me?" Alice whispered in a small voice, coming in at the gate, her black shoes making no noise upon the stone walkway.

Hatter and Hare both looked up from the list and smiled.

"Hey Alice.." Hatter said in his usual, happy voice, a sparkle coming to his blue eyes.

"Hello, Hatter.. Hare.. What are you doing?" Alice asked as she took a seat on one of the many chairs that stood along the tea table.

"Checking the shopping list.." Hatter said. "Our royal pain.."

"Yes.. and he's trying to bribe me to go shopping for him.." Hare said, glancing over at Hatter and wearing his 'I can't believe you're trying to do this to me again' expression.

"Oh.." Alice whispered. "Well, why don't you two just go shopping together?"

"Oh, we can't do that.." Hare said and Hatter shook his head with a smile.

"Why?"

"Well, the store manager said that he doesn't want both of us in the store at the same time.." Hatter said, his smile growing a bit bigger. "Not after the chaos that happened last time we went together.."

"Yeah.." Hare said with a chuckle. "Hatter tried to -"

"Hare, it was an accident.. Let it go.."

"You got us kicked out of the store.."

Hatter gave his friend an offended look, "What part of 'let it go' did you not understand? Seriously, Hare.. That was nearly eight months ago.."

Hare only frowned and turned his attention back to the list, only to add something else to it.

"So, Alice.. I noticed you were late for tea.. You said you'd be here at eleven o' clock.."

"Yes, I know.. Very sorry, but something captured my attention on the way here and I wanted to take a few minutes to sketch it.." Alice said, still holding her sketch pad.

"Ah.. May I see it?"

"See what?"

"The picture you sketched.." Hatter said, trying not to chuckle.

"Oh, that.. Yeah.. Sure.." Alice said, trying to brush off her sudden feeling of stupidity and opening the sketch pad to the scene she'd drawn.

Hare came around the table and stood near Hatter as Alice turned the picture to them. Both of the guys looked quite impressed.

"It's very nice, Alice." Hatter whispered.

"I agree.."

"Thanks guys.." Alice whispered.

"Can I see the picture, Alice?" The Dormouse, whom most people called Dormy, asked, looking out of his tea pot that he usually spent most his time living in.

Alice turned around in the direction of the tea pot and set her picture up before Dormy. He spent a moment studying her work. "It is very nice, Alice.."

"Thanks, Dormy.."

"Do you have any more of them? Seeing as how you haven't shown me any more of your artwork since last month.." Hatter said, taking a seat beside her chair.

"Sure I do.." Alice placed her pad back in the bag, then she retrieved a brightly colored folder and handed it to Hatter. "Here.. I have nearly 27 pictures in there.. I know you haven't seen any of 'em yet.." Alice said, smiling. She always loved showing her newest artwork to her friends.

"Wow.. That's a lot.. Are you gonna be here in Wonderland tomorrow morning?" Hatter asked.

"Sure.."

"Okay.. I'll tell ya what.. Since Hare and I are gonna be a bit busy today over the shopping," Hatter and Hare smiled nearly at the same time, as if sharing the same thought, and Hare returned to the shopping list, "I'll look through your artwork tonight when I've got the time.. then I'll return the folder to you in the morning.. Alright?"

"Sure.."

"Alright, that's done.."

"I wish the shopping was.." Hare mumbled under his breath, but not low enough that the rest of the group didn't hear him.

"I have an idea," Alice said, picking up her bag from the floor and placing its strap on her shoulder. "..why don't you two flip a coin to see who'll do the shopping, hmm?"

"That's a good idea, Alice.." Hare whispered, looking dumb-struck that he never thought of that idea before.

"How true that is.." Hatter said, still smiling, but his smile soon faded some when he noticed that Alice had her bag hanging on her shoulder. "..and.. why does it look like you're leaving?"

"I wanna go visit her Majesty and check up on her sore throat condition.. I hope she's feeling better today.." Alice said, walking toward the gate.

"Alright.. See ya tomorrow, if not before then.." Hatter said as Hare gave Alice a wave goodbye. She smiled and returned the goodbyes before heading toward the Red Queen's palace.

o0o0o0o0o

The White Rabbit was seated at a desk in the Queen's throne room, looking through a small stack of papers when Alice entered the courtyard and stepped into the throne room's entrance. "Hello? Rabbit?"

Rabbit looked up, slightly startled. "Oh, hello.. Alice.. I didn't hear you come in." He said, sitting back in the seat to relax for a moment. "What are you doing here today? I didn't expect to see you.."

"I was visiting Hatter and Hare, and I thought I'd come to the palace for a quick visit.. I can't stay too long, my Mother's expecting me to help her plan my sister's birthday party this afternoon.. So.. How's her Majesty feeling today?" Alice asked, tearing her eyes away from the papers so she didn't see anything that was none of her business.

"Oh, well, she's fine.. Uhh.. She's resting right now, though.. Her doctor gave her medication to take every morning and evening.. and a list of foods and drinks that will help to sooth her throat until her voice returns a bit.."

"Ah, that's good.." Alice said, "I'm just glad it's not something serious.."

"Oh, me too, dear.." Rabbit whispered, a sad look came into his gentle eyes, "I was worried throughout her entire doctor visit.. but she'll be fine, though, the loss of her voice is quite a problem for us.. Communication issues and all.. Mostly, we have to use pen and paper for that.. for now. The doctor instructed her not to try talking too much.."

Alice nodded, understandingly, feeling even more sorry for the Red Queen. "I know how it feels to lose your voice for a short time.. I used to lose my own voice nearly every Winter when I was a child.. I couldn't do any running in Gym class in school.. I had to take a note to be excused from running activities in Gym, as well as speaking in front of the class.. until my voice returned.. but now that I'm older, I seem to have grown out of it.."

Rabbit gave her a small hug to let her know he understood, "Well.. Let's just hope it doesn't return this winter.. The Christmas celebration will be one of the biggest yet.. A lot of planning to do ahead of time.. and we certainly wouldn't want you to miss it.."

"Thanks.. And I am invited to the Halloween celebration this year, right?"

"Absolutely.. We know it's your favorite holiday, so why would we leave you out?" Rabbit said with a smile.

"We?"

"As in the Queen, Hatter and Hare, myself.."

"Ah, okay.. Great.. I'll be there.." She paused to check her wrist watch, it was getting late. "Rabbit, I'm afraid I have to leave now.. Sorry for the visit being so short.."

"That's alright, dear.. I understand.. Thank you for coming by.."

"No problem, Rabbit.." Alice said as she began to make her way to the courtyard.

"I'll see you later, Alice.." Rabbit said, waving goodbye.

Alice returned the wave with a smile and a "Bye.. See ya later.." as she walked to the courtyard gate and out into the woods of Wonderland.

o0o0o0o0o

True to his word, Hatter made some time that night to look at Alice's pictures. He curled up on his bed in his bedroom, trying not to let Hare distract him with his usual, nightly routine. Hatter took the folder and opened it, taking out the sketches within it. He held them closer to his bedside table lamp to get a better look and found himself impressed with the first few sketches right away. There were some pictures of him and Hare, the Cheshire cat, some pictures of the Rabbit and the Red Queen, and some pictures that Alice had made of her fluffy cat, Dinah. She'd also done some characters from her favorite fairytale books. He had to admit, she was a very talented artist indeed.

Hatter had gotten to the last picture and was placing them back into Alice's folder when a average sized piece of lined paper caught his eye. It was clearly a letter, written in blue ink. The writing at the top read, "To Hatter".. He hesitated for a moment, not so sure if he should read it or not, but seeing as how the letter was obviously meant for him, he pulled it out of the folder. He took a small breath and began to read it. The letter said:

To Hatter,

This is the fifth letter I've written so far.. None of the others seemed to come out right.. I've been fighting with myself about telling you this for what seems like years. I did try to tell you face to face several times, but I just couldn't say it. It's definitely not the easiest thing in the world to say. I was too worried about what you'd say about it, or if you'd.. well, if you wouldn't feel the same.. I guess this letter will have to do for now. (is really sad about this)

The truth is, I love you, Hatter.. a lot - but I'm not sure I want you to know yet.. Actually, it's funny in a way.. My mother is insisting that I find a boyfriend.. she's hoping I'll fall in love and get married soon - but that's certainly not my cup of tea, so to say. The young men she's introduced me to - I'm in no way interested in them - they're too boring, typically sane, and predictable - unlike you. I've loved you for too long just to let all my feelings for you die just because my mother wishes for me to be with a typical, ordinary man in my own world. I refuse to let that happen..

My mother doesn't know why I won't give these men a chance to care about me (or give them the light of day, as some people say) - she'd never believe that I've fallen for someone in another dimension that I go to by way of my mirror. (smiles) She has never found out after all these years.. Anyway, Hatter.. I just wished you knew how I felt sometimes.. Honestly, I think I write all this down for no reason, knowing you'll never see it.. It's a pity, really.. (pauses in annoyance) ..Great.. Mother's calling me downstairs.. I'll continue this another time.. Until then..

(Love Alice)..

Hatter lowered the letter some, his happy and surprised emotions all mixed up inside him now. Something from his emotions must've shown on his face, for when he looked up from the paper, he saw Hare laying on his own bed on the opposite side of the room, looking over at him with a worried expression.

"Are you alright, Hatter?" Hare asked, taking off his glasses and setting them on the small table beside his own bed. Hare slept over at Hatter's house so often, that Hatter got him a spare bed.

"Yes.. I.. I was just read something that I need to ask our dear Alice about tomorrow, that's all.."

"Oh, so what's it about?"

"Well, if Alice tells me that I can tell you about it tomorrow, then I will, but until then, I'm keeping this a secret to myself.. Sorry, Hare, but the letter is rather personal and it was written for me.." He paused for a moment, deep in thought, then he reached over to his bedside table and took a black ink pen from it.

"Alright.. Nuff said.." Hare whispered with a smile, as if he had a good idea what the letter was about already, then he turned over to make himself more comfortable and he closed his eyes, seeming rather tired.

Hatter placed the paper onto the sturdy folder, which he set in his lap, then he placed the ink pen tip to the paper and began to write on the lower, blank half of the paper. It didn't take him long to write his own letter back to her, then he placed the art and letter back into the folder and set it on his dresser. Noticing that Hare was asleep by now, Hatter turned out the lamp light and laid in his bed with only the light of the full moon shinning through the window, he continued thinking until he too had fallen asleep.

o0o0o0o0o

That same night, Alice looked through all her folders and piles of art pictures, looking for her letter to Hatter, so that she could add more to it, but it was nowhere to be found. The loss of her letter worried her a bit.. She certainly didn't want a member of her family to find and read it - she'd have some explaining to do. She gave the search up after a while and went to bed.

That morning, at around 9:00 am, she got herself up out of bed, ate breakfast, then got cleaned up and dressed, and went through the mirror into Wonderland. She knew her mother and father were at work by now, so they wouldn't come looking for her anytime soon. She made her way through Wonderland, saying 'hi' to Dee and Dum as she saw them hanging out in the wooded area she'd past through. When she reached the hat-shaped house of Hatter's, she found Hatter and Dormy sitting at the tea table. Hare wasn't there at the time.

"Hello, Alice.. You're here early today.." Hatter said, turning in his chair to face her as she came through the gate.

"Well, I was bored with nothing to do.. So, I decided to come a bit earlier than usual.."

"Ah, I see.. Thanks for the letter, by the way. It was very sweet of you.. I wrote you a note back on it.." Hatter said, taking her folder of pictures from the table and handing it to her.

"What letter -" she began to ask, but then paused with a faint horror. It was in that folder. She remembered now. She'd put the letter to him in that folder when she'd finished writing on it. She'd forgotten it was in there before she gave it to Hatter. "Uhh.. Hatter.. I.. well.. I didn't actually intend to give you that.."

"Oh.." he looked a little disappointed for a moment. "Then, I'm sorry for reading it, but it was in your folder and it being addressed to me, I thought you'd given it to me intentionally.. but if you cared for me so much, though, then why didn't you want me to know?"

"Because.. I wasn't sure how you'd take it.. or how you'd feel about my.. umm.. my confession.." she said, trying to keep calm so that her cheeks didn't turn red from the uncomfortable humiliation and nervousness she was feeling at the time.

"Well, read the lower part of your letter, and there'll be your answer." Hatter said with a smile, taking a sip from his tea cup.

Alice took the folder and took a seat on the waist-high, stone wall that surrounded his tea table area. She took the letter from the folder, then she set her folder on the stone wall, feeling as if her stomach had twisted itself into knots out of her nervousness. She took a calming breath, and began to read what Hatter had written to her. It read:

Alice,

You know, I thought you had some sort of affectionate feelings for me. I noticed (over our time spent together) that you seemed to like being around me the best and you tend to have trouble taking your eyes away from me when we're together.. I also noticed that when I speak to you directly or smiled at you, your face turns slightly pink - I think it's very cute, though. (smiles) And to be perfectly honest, I really care about and love you, too.

PS: As for your mother - it's nearly every mother's dream to see their daughters or sons happily married with someone they love and who loves them in return.. but I agree that your mother can't try to force someone on to you and expect you to fall in love with them: love doesn't work like that, believe me, even I'd know that. If anything, Alice, just be honest with her and tell her how you feel. More than likely, she'll stop trying to introduce you to people who you don't.. shall we say.. care to be with. If she really cares about you, then she'll respect your wishes.

Over all, thanks very much for the letter. I'm sure this took a lot of courage on your part. Telling someone you truly love them (even in a letter) is never easy, but I'm proud of you for it.. I'm really flattered, knowing you care for me so much.. Thanks, Alice..

With Love,
Hatter

She lowered the letter, her hands trembling slightly, the knots in her stomach growing a little tighter. "You.. You really love me?" she asked, looking up at Hatter.

He glanced up, upon hearing her question, and spun around in his chair to face her. "Yes, I do.. A lot.."

Alice lowered the letter to her side, looking a bit sad. "Do you really mean that, or are you just saying that to keep me from feeling bad? If you don't really love me, you don't have to say you do just to spare my feelings from getting hurt, you know.."

Hatter stood up and walked over to Alice. Without a slightest warning, he took her face in his gloved hands, the gloves soft and warm against her cheeks. He raised her chin up some and leaned down a bit to place his soft lips to her own. Her body tensed for a moment, then she relaxed, allowing herself to melt into his kiss. The letter slipped from her hand to the cobblestone path as Alice slid her hands around the back of his neck, not even bothering now to acknowledge the fallen letter. Their kiss grew a bit more passionate as time seemed to stand still, Alice feeling as if she were floating on air now.

She wondered if Hatter was feeling the same by now, and just as they were completely immersed in this warm, sweet feeling of being this close to each other, the sound of a door opening loudly caused both of them to pull away, startled.

"I saw that!" Hare practically yelled, coming out of the house, still wearing his pajamas and his night cap still on his head. "I saw that from the bedroom window, you can't deny it!" he said, coming up to them, smiling.

Hatter and Alice both stared at him, Alice feeling a bit uneased, but Hatter seemed perfectly fine with his best friend knowing what had just happened.

"Okay, Hare.. Shhh.. Don't shout.. You'll wake the rest of Wonderland up.." Hatter said in almost a whisper.

"Is this what the letter was about that you were reading last night?" Hare asked Hatter.

"Yes, it was.." Hatter said, watching Alice (having remembered her fallen letter) kneel down to pick the paper up off the stone path, then, she put the letter back into her folder.

"Ah, I see.." Hare said, looking as though his suspicions were confirmed now.

"You're okay with this Hare?" Alice asked him, trying not to smiled at his night cap with its tassel.

"Yes.. Honestly, I always thought you two would.. errmm.. well.. be cute together.." Hare said.

"You never told me this." Hatter said with a small smile.

"Well, of course not.." Hare told him. "I was waiting for a good moment.. I had an idea that you might like Alice as more than a friend, yet I wasn't too sure.. But obviously, I was right.." he said, smiling again and looking rather proud of himself.

"So, now that you're out here. Would either of you two care for some tea?" Hatter asked, motioning to the empty chairs. "There's plenty of room, ya know.."

"Sure," Alice said, allowing Hatter to lead her to the tea table. ""I'll have one cup.. and then I want to go to the palace to see if her Majesty's feeling any better this morning.."

Then, both Hatter and Alice noticed Dormy still sitting in the tea pot, looking rather happy, obviously having seen everything happen between the two of them.

Hatter smiled, "Do you have any objections, Dormy?" he asked the mouse as he sat down where he had left his tea cup.

Dormy smiled and shook his little head. "Not one.. You two really care about each other, so why should I?"

Alice sat down beside Hatter as Hare took the seat on the other side of Hatter. They began to get into other topics of conversation as Hatter poured them all cups of tea that had been made that morning. The tea had a honey and banana flavoring to it. Alice loved it. It didn't take her long to finish hers off and she found herself asking Hatter for another cup of it. He was pleased to find she liked this flavor so much. I didn't take her long to finish off that cup too.

"Ya know, Alice.." Hatter said, smiling. "I think I should've given you a bigger cup."

"Ya think?" Alice said, looking over the table at the variety of fresh cakes and cookies that were on the table. She found that he'd set out some of the peanut butter flavored ones for the party. She stood up so she was able to reach the plate and took one of the cookies, then she sat back down and began to eat it, happily.

"Ya know, Alice, if you would like some breakfast, Hare and I can make you some right fast.." Hatter insisted, not finding the cookie at all a suitable meal for first thing in the morning.

Alice smiled. "It's okay, Hatter.. I had a decent breakfast this morning.. Thanks for the offer, though." she continued to eat the rest of her cookie, beginning to wonder what the Red Queen and White Rabbit were doing right about now.. Probably eating their own breakfast..

"Okay, you two.. If you don't mind, I'm gonna go visit the Red Queen for a while." Alice said, standing up from her spot at the table and grabbing another peanut butter cookie for the walk to the palace.

"May we come, Alice?" Hatter asked, giving her a sad eyed look.

"Yes, you can come.." she said.

Hare got up from his seat. "Sorry, guys.. You two go ahead.. I still need to eat breakfast myself and get cleaned up for the morning.."

"Alright, Hare.. See ya later.." Alice said, taking up her folder, then she and Hatter both said 'goodbye' to him and Dormy and headed off in the direction of the Red Queen's palace. They spoke a bit to one another about Hare and Dormy being perfectly okay with the two of them falling in love and all.. When they reached the Queen's palace, Alice was surprised to find that the Queen was sitting in one of the six foot wide chairs out in her courtyard today. She had a little table set before her and she was eating her own breakfast when Alice and Hatter walked up into the courtyard. She looked up and smiled at them.

"Hello, your Majesty." Alice said, taking a seat beside the Queen.

"Good morning, Alice.. " the Queen said in a faint whisper.

"I thought the doctor said you weren't to try talking for a while.." Alice said.

"Oh, I can talk.. just softly.. so it doesn't strain my throat or cause more pain to it.." the Queen whispered, taking another sip of her lemon tea.

"I see.." Alice said.

"So.. I heard that you two were.. well.. together now.." the Queen said, smiling.

"What?" Alice asked, her voice going rather high.

"Uhh.. Where did you hear that, your Majesty?" Hatter asked, taking a few steps closer to the two ladies so he could hear the Queen's voice better.

"Well, Tweedle Dee and Dum were walking past your house on their way to come see me this morning and they saw the kiss.." the Queen said. "Dum just couldn't keep it secret.."

Alice glanced over at Hatter, feeling slightly horrified, knowing that everyone in Wonderland would probably know about this by tomorrow.

"Hmm.. I wonder if anyone else saw that now.." Hatter said, smiling as if this didn't bother him at all.

"With my luck.. Yes.." Alice said, forcing a small smile.

"You know," the Queen whispered. "I honestly think you two would be cute together.."

"That's the same thing Hare said.." Hatter told her.

"Then I agree with him.." said the Queen, taking another sip of tea.

"I'm sure the Tweedle brothers do as well.." Hatter said, then took a seat beside Alice as she gave him a worried look. "Oh, come on, Alice.. No one will mind.."

"I know.. but I'm usually uncomfortable about people knowing I'm.. well.. with someone.. I've always been uncomfortable with that sort of thing.. I like to keep my love relationships in secret.."

"Do you? Well, maybe we can help make you comfortable with that.." Hatter said, pulling Alice closer to his side and giving her a hug. She smiled and, as she was returning Hatter's hug, she saw the White Rabbit come sliding into he courtyard on his skates, holding a small, dark bottle - he'd obviously been in the castle.

He smiled when he saw them. "Ah, so it's true, then.."

"How could you tell?" the Queen whispered with a smile.

"Because their smiles could nearly rival the Cheshire cat's grin.." Rabbit said, placing the small bottle of medicine down on the Queen's table for her to take that morning. Before Rabbit could say another word, another voice broke in.

"Speaking of grins, good morning all.." the purple furred Cheshire cat greeted them, appearing and floating in mid air.

"Cat.." the Queen whispered, giving the cat a stern look. "How long have you been there?"

"Oh, for about ten minutes now.."

"I ordered you not to go spying on me and my subjects like that.. It's very rude.."

"Yes, I know.. Your Majesty.. I don't do it often.. and.. how's the voice this morning?" the cat asked.

"It's doing a bit better.." the Queen said, the stern look not quite having left her face yet as she turned back to Hatter and Alice. "So.. Any plans to celebrate this?"

"Well. Maybe.. So much for keeping it a secret now.." Alice said.

Hatter smiled, "Alice, nothing ever stays a secret around here for long.. You should know that.."

"So.." Rabbit spoke up as he sat down in a chair next to them, "How did this all come about, you two?"

"Well.." Alice replied, "I had placed a letter to him in my art folder and yesterday, I gave the folder to him so he could have a look at my art - I'd forgotten I'd put the letter in my folder - and of course, he read it and wrote back to me, saying that he felt the same.."

"You know, Alice, I'm glad you left the letter in there.." Hatter told her.

"Yeah, me too." Alice whispered.

"Me three.." The Queen whispered with a smile.

[ the end ]


Note - Yeah, the ending was lame.. I wanted to add more to this after the Queen spoke, but I was at a total loss for where else to take the rest of this story.. Writer's block, maybe? . :S
Anyways reviews are welcome and sorry for any errors.. :/

c ya!