Fandom: Syfy's Alice

Pairing: Alice/Hatter

Rating: PG

Warnings: angst, drama, questionable mental statuses

Archive: Ask

Author: Lily Zen

Notes: For commentfic's delusions theme. The prompt was "Dave doesn't know why the girl he helped seems to like him so much, but he likes her back and that's all that matters, right?"

So, okay, yes, this is my first time posting in this fandom, and that doesn't exactly give me a lot of clout, I'm aware. However, I wanted to take a quick second to pimp out a really great idea we're trying to get off the ground. For those of us who write, you know how hard it is to find a beta sometimes. Well, there's a group I've found called The Beta Branch whose purpose it is to connect authors with a wide variety of betas. It's run on a forum [thebetabranch (dot) prophpbb (dot) com]. The added benefit of doing it this way is that you can get multiple betas to give you feedback on your story, which offers a more well-rounded critique. All fandoms are welcome, and they need more betas and writers to join. (Better if you're willing to do both.) Come check it out!

Disclaimer: Not mine.

"Hatter," Alice says one day while they're eating huge slices of greasy pizza at the shop by the dojo. She winces when he looks up and gives her that little indulgent smile that appeared there only after Hatter came through the Looking Glass for her.

She still calls him 'Hatter' even though here his name is Dave. He's got the birth certificate, the driver's license, and the passport to prove it. She can't let it go though. He was Hatter to her first and foremost, and changing the habit now is harder to do than it ought to be. Hatter suits him. It's succinct and somehow vibrant, full of character. Dave is...well, Dave is just a regular name for a regular guy, and he's not; Hatter's not a regular guy.

"Why don't we ever talk about it?" Alice finally asks.

Dave puts down his slice of pizza, and wipes his fingers on a napkin. He tilts his head a little, wondering what Alice is getting at. He sips his coke through a straw, then puts the oversized plastic cup back down on the tabletop. "Talk about what?" he replies carefully.

He likes Alice. She's a little odd on occasion, but she's sweet and her heart's always in the right place. But sometimes he finds her somewhat strange, like right now, her gaze focused with intensity on him.

She bites her lip, glancing away briefly as though to make sure no one's listening in. Then she directs her pretty blue eyes back to him and says very seriously, "Wonderland."

It startles a laugh out of him, and he hides his grin behind his hand for a brief second. "Why would we talk about Wonderland?" Dave asks, shaking his head. Just another quaint Alice-ism, he thinks to himself.

"Why-" she starts to say, but he cuts her off, still chortling.

"That's a story in a kid's book, sweetheart," he quips, and takes another drink of that dark, bubbly, caramelized beverage.

Alice, with a sinking feeling in her gut, frowns at him. "But's...we..." She can't quite bring herself to articulate it. With each stuttering word, Hatter's look of bemusement is growing deeper, underscored with concern. Alice feels the doubt settling in her marrow as this simple moment turns her world on end.

Dave can't understand what's going on in Alice's head, and he begins to think there's something else going on here. Perhaps she'd hit her head a little too hard on the concrete when she fell. He doesn't want to believe the niggling voice at the back of his mind.

He'd always thought it a bit strange that the instant he had walked in her door, Alice had hugged him, kissed him right there, right in front of her mother the first time they'd met. However, Dave had put it out of his mind, and chocked it up to Alice being her lovely, eccentric self. It didn't particularly matter to him why she'd done it, just that she had. She liked him, and he'd found immediately that he'd liked her back. That's enough, right? So it doesn't matter that she calls him 'Hatter', and sometimes talks about things he doesn't understand.

He rubs his temple where a headache is beginning to brew, and winces.

Alice can't believe how he can sit there across from her and deny it to her face. He acts so nonchalant about it, like they never took down the Queen and the Casino, or met Charlie, or flew on flamingos together. She shakes her head. No. No! She knows what she saw. She knows what happened! If she could just find the Looking Glass again, she could prove it!

...Only it's not there anymore. She already went back to check.

Maybe the look on his face is correct. Perhaps Alice's fall has made her a bit mad.

She sees Dave rub his temple again, and his eyelids start to slip to half-mast, squinting against the brilliant afternoon sunlight. "Another headache?" she asks, voice sympathetic.

He nods, and winces. "Yes, and unfortunately I've left my medication at home."

"Okay," Alice sighs, and gives up the conversation. She pushes back her chair. "I'll walk you home."

Hatter stands up, and slips his sunglasses out of his pocket, sliding them onto his face. He takes her hand, offering her a wan smile. Together they walk toward the door, and Alice tries not to relate the sound of the bells chiming overhead to the sound of her world beginning to crack.

She knows what she saw. She knows the truth of what happened. When Dave had walked in her door, and she'd hugged him, he'd whispered close to her ear, "Finally."