A Difference in Alice
by Rurple101


"Get off me you smelly-!" Alice's muffled insult was quietened by being pushed roughly through a doorway by the short and squat man in black. This resulted in her being thrown forward onto the dirt ground. The short man stepped over her and scuttled over towards the centre of the room. Alice winced as she got up and gaped once she realised where she actually was.

They were in her old infamous Tea Shoppe, where she'd sold some of her 'Un-Wonderlandian' teas and even held a small café area. This room had been her private office, with a door off to the left to her personal flat area.

Instead of a smart desk in her Victorian décor, there were modern furnishings and even a healthy patch of vibrant long green grass surrounding a newer and slimmer desk, chairs and papers. Her version of the shop had been uttered destroyed as the entire aspect of the shop had changed, to selling Emotional Teas that controlled power to the Red Queen.

But she was beside herself with fury that someone had charged into her old home and changed it from how it had been. Ratty had run over to person in a wide high white seat that was turned away from her. There was a set of expensive headphones and other electrical instruments around.

"Who are you?" Alice had to bite back her utter astonishment and irritation at the stranger and the transformation that her tea shop had gone through. She was still casting her eyes around as she heard his chair spin around.

"A friend…I hope" came the reply.

Alice pursed her lips, scowling and then turned back to the stranger and opened her mouth in shock.

The man across from her was exactly the same as the dream she'd been having the past three weeks. The same hats, the same messy hair, even the same outfit, down to the purple trousers and the twinkle in his eyes.

In her shock, she'd stumbled back and her eyes had widened.

The man's expression went from honest greeting to confusion in a second. He too stepped forward, pushing himself out of his seat and walked a few feet closer to examine the woman in front of him. She was drenched from head to foot, but her outfit wasn't the same as he'd seen her. He'd dreamt of that face constantly and only realised it on the spot then.

She was without a doubt, the only woman he'd seen dressed in trousers, or 'skinny jeans' as he knew they were called. It was quite unnerving and sexy at the same time to him. She also wore a black leather jacket, studded with…diamonds (?) on the sleeves. Her face looked like it had worn make-up but only her slightly red stained lips told him that.

But the most striking part of her appearance was a pair of bright red heeled shoes on her feet, no socks leaving her skin bare there. Her figure was slender and he sensed that she was some sort of fighter. She wasn't an Oyster, but she'd not been in Wonderland for some time, that was certain.

Was this the woman whose processions' he'd stored in his basement from when he'd stolen himself in one cold night?

"Have I met you before?" They both exclaimed at exactly the same time.

The man smiled hesitantly, and motioned with him arm "Ladies first."

Alice faltered somewhat and cast round for a suitable clarification.

"What's your name?" she asked. "Your mother named you something."

He smirked and his twinkle lit again in his eyes. "She named me something else to what I am known to" he said simply. "But you can call me Hatter."

"Because of the hat?" she raised an eyebrow.

"Your name?" he asked defensively, almost childishly.

"I am called Alice" she, sighing. "But not the bloody Alice that is legend". She added, spinning round to glare at the ratty man beside her.

"How did you break out of the scarab?" Hatter asked, puzzled and looking at the items on his desk, wondering if he should make a normal cup of tea for Alice.

"Hairpin" she said, as if that made sense on its own. "…which meant I fell into the Pool of Tears." She sighed drastically. "Wet denim isn't fun."

"Well you're wet enough" Hatter chuckled, leaning against the desk but frowned slightly when she glowered at his teasing suggestion. He carried on. "The place has changed a lot since I moved in here. Must've been about seven years I've been here. Where have you been stranger?"

His voice and image was cheeky, like a naughty schoolboy. Alice didn't want to admit to herself that she liked this treatment because it was quite amusing to watch him walk and talk like that. She narrowed her eyes and brushed a lock of hair out of her eye. It was only then that Hatter noticed that she wore thick black leather gloves on her hands.

He walked over to her, closer than he'd been before and referred back to what she was called. Deciding to rid them of Ratty, he questioned what the man wanted, Alice ignoring the fact that it was basically a sale of bringing her to Hatter.

"So you're Alice then" he said (after Ratty had scuttled off) almost purring, walking around her like she was on display. He wouldn't have denied it when he was actually checking her out, because there was no ignoring the fact that she was stunning, radiant almost.

"I can feel you gaze burning" she said dryly, not amused by being paraded round.

He rounded her again and seemed too close for comfort to her face, but he couldn't help himself. She was…beautiful.

"If I could count-" Alice said, deciding to walk around Hatter, playing him at his own game. "-the amount of men, or the times that men of all sorts, sizes and preferences have gazed at me likethat-" she met his gaze without hesitation. "-then I wouldn't remember them all."

"Which man are you returning the look to?" he asked voice level and as low as hers, already somewhat jealous of the man who'd caught Alice's interest.

"No man would have me return to my homeland without a struggle for my life" she whispered, her breath blowing gently onto his cheeks. He hadn't realised that whilst looking at her face intently, she'd removed a glove from her hand and rested it on his wrist. "I'm not that sort of woman, for future reference David Hatter."

She turned round, grinning and walked over to the door behind his desk and kicked it open. Slipping her glove back on, she leant against the wall and winked at him cheekily. "I'm much more than you think" she warned him.

She doesn't know that I like the sound of that, Hatter thought, his insides and mind trying to grasp how quick that intimate moment lasted for and how much he'd…sunk into it easily. He walked over to her, straightening his hat slightly and wondering how she could tell what his name was by just touching him intimately.

"I have one downfall – pardon the pun" she murmured, looking level out of the door.

"Which is?" he probed.

Alice closed her eyes tightly before looking down at the ground, maybe miles below them, and shuddered, gasping heavily. "I have a thing about heights" she groaned.

Hatter smiled reassuringly and touched her elbow slowly, making her eyes snap open.

"I'll be in front of you so you won't fall" he reassured her. She blinked and shook her head slightly to clear it before watching Hatter push past her and started descending down the small metal frame steps to the high path below them.

Hatter jumped down confidently but looked up to help her, grasping her waist four steps from the bottom of the ladder and lowered her carefully.

She looked at him critically. "Thank you" she said stiffly.

He then stepped sideways and held out his hand for her to take. But Alice had made the mistake of looking down again and cursed at her crippling fear. Hatter saw this and watched uncomfortably as Alice backed away from the edge and clung to the ladder like ivy. He moved his hand in front of her to take again and she gulped loudly, eyes flickering back to the emptiness of space behind him, paranoid that he would fall.

"Alice, come on, look at me."

His voice, with her eyes closed reminded her so much of the dream she had about him and she opened them again to see his concerned and yet collected features that she'd recognized.

She placed her hand in his without fail, allowing him to feel the softness of the hard leather her glove was made of. The closer to the edge was feared she was, the tighter Alice clung to his hand, showing her how hard she pressed it with the red fingers, as she was blocking his veins to his fingertips.

"Keep pushing dear, you're almost there!" he joked, a smile lighting his face, as if imagining holding onto a pregnant wife in labour. Alice couldn't stop the giggle that escaped her and the content look on the face remained whilst they walked along the walkway.

aUTHOR nOTES: Yes, An almost 'flashback' scene will come. This is meant to be the opening chapter and the beginning will be explained. :D thanks for reading and reviews! xx