The following morning, Rabbit was waking from a terrible sleep. He hadn't had a single dream the whole night and had been tossing and turning relentlessly to adjust to the rising heat. That Queen was always messing with the thermostat. This day, however, seemed awfully peaceful. It was nothing like that hectic night getting the Queen set up in bed, and the extra chores to make the ball preparation more bearable. There was silence, and he could feel the sun's delicate cover on the blankets, and he stretched from head to toe contentedly, surprised his alarm clock had yet to sound and nobody was calling him from downstairs.
His hand rose to scratch beneath his nighttime cap but patted over much thicker fur than usual. This was the first real time he opened his eyes and immediately took notice of the strangely low ceiling. He frowned and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, well aware he was getting old, but depth perception was not a usual problem. As he leaned up against his pillows he found a completely foreign place around him with yellow painted walls, hardwood floors, and to the side of him was a table and a lamp with a hat-shaped shade.
"Why am I in Hatter's room?..." He thought to himself, mouth beginning to gape. His eyes caught sight of an antique cat clock, eyes darting back and forth with every tick, when he realized, with a squint, that it was 9:30. Nine-thirty! The Queen would have his head (no pun; no pun at all! This was no time for jokes!)
He sprung from the bed and did a panic dance on the rug when he noticed his own hands. They rose cautiously before him. All of his abundant white hair was gone. As his eyes traveled all the way up his arms, he realized that he had gone bare and tan, and, worse, his body was a blur. "These aren't mine!" Was his only coherent thought. He used the "vessel" hands to touch his chest, then lower, finding a total absence of ice-cream belly and a (not exactly fit, but) significantly smaller waist line. "This isn't mine, either." His thorough inspection continued as he repeated in his head, over and over again, that this was some kind of mistake or hallucination. Slowly, his hands reached back and cupped his butt. "That's definitely not mine!" He uttered aloud. He almost went shooting through the roof when a pile of sheets stirred from behind him.
"What are you talkin' about, Hareee~..." When Rabbit swished around, Hatter was sprawled out, hatless, without a shirt. "I said we could shaaareee..." he added, with his eyes closed. Rabbit gasped and backed into the wall.
"Oh my goodness. I'm- I'm- I'm terribly sorry." When his back reached the door, his hand fumbled over a stiff handle, no matter how hard he tried to turn it left or right. Hatter eventually came to and gave him a playful sleepy smirk.
"I guess I forgive you..." When he said this, they were making completely direct eye contact. Rabbit grew incredulous.
"What do you mean, you-" His eyebrow suddenly cocked mid-sentence before he approached a mirror by the dresser. Before he even caught his whole reflection, he flinched, then neared the rest of the way with his hands out, as if in defense. He stopped before the vision became blurry again and gaped. With dark, dark eyebrows, a dash of freckles, and a crown of curly hair, the creature followed his every move. Even the corners of its mouth fell dramatically, just as his did, with a roll of chub underneath its chin. He swallowed sourly.
"What'sa matter, Hare?" Slowly but surely, he turned towards his unexpected bed-mate and answered.
"N-Nothing. Nothing at all," he said through his teeth. He took one last look at that schmucky face before going back to the door and struggling with the handle again.
"Uhm, you have to push it in and then turn it, remember?" Hatter tried. Rabbit took his advice and succeeded.
"Thanks. I forgot..." he muttered. He dashed out of the room and looked all around for the bathroom, where he went to splash his face with water, hoping this was all just a bad nightmare that involved very sensitive perception and a feeling like he wasn't asleep at all. As he was doing so, Hatter appeared in the door frame and crossed his arms, but Rabbit grabbed the nearby hand towel and patted himself, avoiding eye contact. Then, with hesitance, he snatched a yellow toothbrush and brushed vigorously with his eyes closed, trying to ignore any sensation or taste.
"Are you going somewhere?"
"The Queen is going to ki-" Rabbit started offhandedly. Hatter tightened his lips. "... I need to see Rabbit."
"Rabbit? Why the hell would you see him?"
He spat into the sink and used an orange cup to rinse, leaving Hatter in anticipation. "It's a long story," he answered, coldly brushing him out of the way and rushing past the attic, almost tripping over Hatter's crap strewn over the floor in the process.
"You're not gonna floss?" Hatter wondered aloud, mere steps behind him with a worried expression.
"Yeah, like I'd put my hands in his mouth- I mean... It's just that important. I have to go now," he emphasized, flashing the whites of his eyes. With Hatter hovering over him the entire way, he looked downstairs for any clue as to what was going on but fell empty-handed at the front door.
"Wait!" Before he could react, a hand came around his back and he slipped awkwardly out of a hug. Hatter glanced briefly at his swatted hand with discouragement. "I don't get some sugar before you go?" Rabbit looked at him like he had lost his mind, but Hatter leaned forward and his blond locks gave Rabbit's cheeks a most unfamiliar tickle. Sure this was the most horrifying thing in all his 70 years, he bent backwards as far as he could go, passing the limits of his normal bunny body that he had had just yesterday.
"I really shouldn't! Uhhh, cold sore! Aheheh, you know!" Hatter's brow furrowed.
"Well I don't care about that!" He loomed over Rabbit even more until his startled "partner" slid down the smooth wood door, crawled between his legs, and stood back up. "AHH! I see. You wanna do this again!"Unlike any civilized person, Hatter pursued him around the living room, and Rabbit jumped over the furniture with surprising agility. The door, his only hope for escape, was again and again in view, but his attempts to reach it were futile. That crazy man's legs were too long and quick to make fleeing from him an easy option. "Come on now, we just woke up!" Hatter reasoned, taking a small break and huffing next to the coffee table. Rabbit backed into the sliding glass door, gripping the handle, when he realized it moved. Before anything else was said or done, he shoved the door out, opened the screen, and dashed into the yard. Hatter's confused cry from within the house fell on unsympathetic ears as he cut around the giant hat and ran into the forest, barefoot.
Hatter wandered towards his escape exit and peeked out both ends of the backyard. "Really, Hare?" He asked himself, hands raised.
In no time, Rabbit had reached the palace gates and brushed the rocks off of his feet before tripping into view of the courtyard. He scrambled behind a bush when he caught a familiar dash of sparkling red and listened in on the conversation.
"Then I want the pantry stocked, those coupons clipped, and lunch by noon sharp." Instinctively, he rolled his eyes before watching through the foliage, catching the Queen with none other than "himself". The sight of his own body somewhere else was making him light-headed.
"Oh dear God..." he said to himself, fingers beginning to curl.
"But before you do all of that, I want all of these plants watered! And NO funny business! I've got a serious hangover to kill, and I will not put up with your crap today." The "Rabbit" standing in front of her gave a peculiarly toothy smile and a salute: something he would never do. He looked like a godamn trainee at McDonalds.
Once she had left the courtyard, Rabbit came closer to his counterpart and watched as he sashayed past the potted begonias, wielding the watering can like a magic wand. He couldn't help but grumble before trying for his attention.
"He'a~!" His unfortunately nasal voice called. Hare perked up his ears and looked around. He spotted his own body peering from around the bushes and jerked back his neck. "Come here!" He stepped just a little closer. "Do you have any idea what's going on?!" Rabbit shook his hands vigorously and hovered them in the air like he might want to grab himself by the shoulders. The "Rabbit" thought about it a moment, placing a gloved hand on his fuzzy hip.
"Not a clue. I-I was kind of just going with it."
"What do you mean you were going with it?! I had to dodge that man's gigantic li-! Do you know where I woke up this morning?!" Hare's eyes journeyed the bushes, looking for an answer.
"I would probably guess you were... at Hatter's, and he was... making you breakfast?"
"He didn't make any moves on you, did he?"
"The fact that I had to experience, for even five minutes, what goes on between you when you're alone- t-t-t-that isn't the point! The point is I want back in my body and I want back in my body right now!" Hare giggled in a way Rabbit didn't much think flattered him and swatted his hands.
"I can't believe I'm yelling at myself!"
"Oh dear LORD. Get over here right now!" Hare nervously closed the distance between them with a sort of tip-toe, eyes darting. "Are you meaning to tell me that you are happy just snatching up my body and never giving it back?!"
Hare suddenly frowned. "No... It's not that... I just think it's kind of fun being you. How else would I ever get to spend so much time around the Queen?! She let me have one of her poptarts this morning!" He swished his hips a little with an open grin.
"Yyyyes, great for you," he sneered, making every wrinkle in his cinnamon complexion appear to the sides of his mouth, "but what am I supposed to do all day?! Furthermore-" Suddenly, he gasped. "Oh my word, the ball!" Hare looked around like maybe there was one rolling by.
"Wonderland's 127th Independence Day Ball! The ball we were talking about just yesterday at dinner, you chucklehead!"
"Sorry! If you hadn't noticed, a lot of other things went on at dinner, too! Hatter had his hand- we danced."
Rabbit gave him an annoyed look. "Well. The point~ I was getting at~ is that this poses an eentsy weensty tiny weeny itty bitty problem, as you will not be able to handle that ball alone. I've trained for yea~'s to get it right. It's more delicate an art than any Japanese flower arranging-"
"O-hoh, come on, Rabbit – I think I can handle pouring champagne for a few hours," Hare assured, reaching for coat ends that weren't there and resorting to tugging at the air. Rabbit shook his head.
"First of all, it shall be much more than pouring champagne. Second, you have done no convincing job of acting like me at all this morning, I could tell merely by the Queen's posture, and third... The whole night, nay, day, you must be on rollerblades. Possible, for you? HMPH! I think not."
Hare looked down to his bare bunny feet and wet his lip. "Well, no, I thought about it, but I really can't roll around like that-"
"I will not allow you to humiliate yourself. Or rather, myself."
"Well then, how do you plan to fix this?!"
"How am I going to fix this?! It's probably something you did!" Hare opened his mouth in offense. "Hatter concocted something, didn't he?"
"No! Honestly!" Rabbit shook his head towards the sky. "Y-you saw him this morning! He must've been shocked!"
"I never told him it was me, I-... fine. So he had nothing to do with it, but I swea'~, if I have to fend him off of me one more time, I may resort to blunt objects."
Hare's pale wrinkly features immediately turned worrisome. "Please don't do anything to hurt him."
"I'll try, but I have a feeling it will get harder~..." He eyed his surroundings to make sure they were still alone. "The both of you stalk each other 24/7, don't you?" Hare's brow dropped, making it look like he had one white unibrow.
"Hey! I don't bitch about your lifestyle!"
"Well, yes, you do. Just yesterday you called me a tight-ass."
"I-I'm sorry. Look. If you don't want to see him all day, just tell him your mother called. All I ask is that you don't be mean right to his face. He trusts me." Rabbit gulped at the sight of himself looking so serious over it.
"Right, well as long as you can endure the Queen. We've obviously got lives to live today but, since yours doesn't permit free time, I'll be the one getting to the bottom of this. Just stay in line, water the plants, order take-out if you cahn't cook, and put on those blades. She'll get suspicious if you don't. I fall enough in a day to make your accidents hardly noticeable." Hare nodded with every command, even unnerved by the thought of sliding on his ass all day. "Preparation for the ball generally starts at four. You have a phone where you can reach me and I expect updates."
"What if nothing changes by then?"
"Then... then... you'll just," he cringed as the thought came, "you'll just have to do the ball and make a fool of the Queen, and- and I'll never be allowed to go outside ever again-"
"Would you stop with that?! It's going to be fine."
"RABBIT!" The Queen's voice bellowed from somewhere beyond the throne room. Hare winked to his grimacing counterpart and skipped back to the center of the courtyard.
"I can be you better than you can!" He turned toward the direction of the voice. "YES, YER MAJESTY!"
"Why are you talking like that?!" She asked as she made the scene. Rabbit ducked behind the bush again. "Are you done watering the plants yet? I need some tea and I can't find it anywhere because you haven't stocked the pantry yet. You're slow as fuck."
"Ohhh, don't worry about it! Yo'aaaa imagining things! I'll get right on it, PIP PIP, CHEERIO."
Rabbit's hands went straight for his forehead.
Although he was absolutely sure by now that Hare would squash what reputation he had, Rabbit returned the way he came, not really sure of the exact location of his "home", but figuring he wouldn't wander for long. Wonderland was a lot smaller than it looked.
At the sight of Hatter's house to the left of the path, he gulped with uncertainty and passed with his breath held. Nobody appeared to be home anymore, but, then again, sometimes Hatter was suspiciously quiet in there. Rabbit thought he tried to be, just so he could scare his visitors.
It was like a thought materialized when the 'out' door slammed open and Hatter emerged like a Jack in the Box, complete with a dopey grin across his lips. He nearly caught his disarrayed buddy, but Rabbit was quick to hop for the bushes. He landed squarely on his nose but held to the affliction and quietly grimaced as the swift purple legs made their round. He grumbled to himself when the sound of his footsteps quieted, then reached for a nearby tree trunk to aid him to stance.
"Oh, radishes. He's probably off straight to He'a~'s. There's no way I can go back now!" His face scrunched into a pout when his stomach began to rumble. He looked down to the white curve of his belly and sighed deeply before stepping onto the path again, but his gaze lingered over Hatter's house. He slowly entered the gate, then hovered over the long table, surveying the smörgåsbord with a not-so-delighted expression. He had to squint to make it out with all of Hare's farsightedness, but his findings weren't exceptional. Nothing but junk food, tsk tsk.
He found himself shaking his head at the half-drank cups and the baked treats, many of which were contaminated by teeth marks. A waste indeed. However, the sight awakened a craving in him for something sweet. "Ehhh, I'd better not. My thighs would be next stop- wait a minute..." He thoughtfully reached for a pink-tinted donut and turned it before his eyes. "In my real body, I would never think of indulging like this before lunch time... But in He'a~'s... why... it would do no harm what so ever!" He exclaimed to the air.
He met his bunny teeth to the donut and took a tentative nibble. His blank expression blossomed into ecstasy as the taste sunk in, his eyes widening as he chewed and swallowed hurriedly to speak. "Oh my word! Is that cherry-flavored powdered suga'~?!" He took another bite, and then another. "UNGHGH." Before he knew it, the donut once in his hand had completely disappeared. Almost coyly, his eyes fell upon another, just as colorful and promising as the first. As he reached for it, he hardly noticed the figure approaching him from behind. "Ohhh, fiddlesticks, these are just delectable! I say, I-"
"Mr. Hare?" The donut about to reach his mouth never made it. He took a deep breath, set his treat back on the table, and turned around, smiling to the girl with powder-covered lips.
"Oh, hello Alice."
"Hi," she responded with an amused strength in her voice, then looked him over with a cocked eyebrow. No jacket, no socks or shoes... Rabbit's eyes followed hers to the ground, where his bare feet stood far below his nose. He couldn't think of a reason for it on the spot, so he nervously crossed his arms.
"H-have a nice day at school?" He thought fit to ask. She nodded a little with her lips tight.
"Hanging out with Mr. Hatter today?"
"Oh! Eheheheh, not yet." The sound of his laughter alone wasn't flying right with this girl. She stepped a little closer, scrutinizing even his slightest move. "I mean I definitely will. Why wouldn't I? He is, after all, my best friend of many ye'a~s. Good good friend." He swished his hands enthusiastically and glanced towards the gate, wondering how he was going to get himself out of this one.
"What happened to your glasses? And your shoes?" The "Hare"'s forehead crinkled in distress.
"-Playing Mewok again or something?"
"That's it. That's it." He shot his finger towards her and took a few steps towards his exit. "In fact, I was only making a fuel stop. If I don't hurry, I won't beat my own time! Gotta go!"
"But-" Before she could finish her sentence, he had jogged away with utmost haste.
When Rabbit got to Hare's house, he realized he didn't have a key, and it was likely sitting on some table in Hatter's house. That, or Hare was stupid and kept all his doors unlocked. Rabbit knew there were two likely scenarios about to take place, but he confidently strode towards the door, only to find that there was a note with cursive scrawl that said "went to find you at the palace. Will come back if you aren't there. 3, Hatter." Whatever. Rabbit gripped the door handle and, what do you know, it was swung wide open.
As he entered, he mentally braced himself for the bizarre things that he would soon discover. However, he came to find that the house was a charming little space. The windows were all open and welcoming the sunlight. There was a circular rug made of rainbow yarn in the doorway, framed paintings of still-life, and an abundance of potted plants and vases of flowers. He stepped closer to the living room, which sported a matching couch and rocking chair in a light chocolate brown, though both were covered in colorful throw pillows with embroidery and even ruffles.
I mean, yeah, he knew right away that a gay man lived there, but that was many steps up from a 'crazy man', the usual way Rabbit thought to describe him when he revealed anything about himself.
When he took a better look, it was still clearly Hare's home, however. On the small, four-chaired dinner table was a collection of mail. He had to squint and hold it far away from his eyes, but Rabbit saw that he was holding up a new issue for members of the Hug A Chicken club. And when he got to the kitchen, he had a cup rack with some of the strangest pictures, like of skiing Clowns, and what looked like carrots doing a can-can around the width of the side.
The carrots reminded him that he was hungry, so he dug through the fridge and found a whole bag of sweet, delicious celery, much to his surprise, and snatched it up, chewing it as he surveyed the rest of the house. As he went up the stairs, he began to see a lot more photos of Hatter. In fact, they were invading the wall above Hare's desk, and even framed next to his bed. The bedroom wasn't as tidy as the rest of the house. Some of his clothes didn't making the laundry bin, and Rabbit tripped over a pair of his sneakers, which were the obnoxious color of Spearmint gum. There were comic books and drawings of birds, fruit, or birds shaped like fruit, popsicle sticks, and what looked like an unfinished board game, just sitting there. There was also a cup of tea, half-drunk, hanging out on Hare's bedside table, which had an alarm clock that looked more like a miniature juke box. And on top of it was an orange sticky note that read "remember to bring lobsters!" Rabbit rolled his eyes.
Lastly, there was the bathroom. If the living room looked like a gay man's, the bathroom looked like a toddler's, who wanted to be simultaneously a pirate, a chef, a scuba diver, and possibly the Crocodile Hunter. Somehow, and beyond explanation, Hare had a bathtub as big as the Queen's, but he probably only had as much space as was in a normal one because there were toys everywhere along the edges, which flattened and connected to the wall. There were inflatable ducks, penguins, and even an otter that could lie flat on the water and hold... Milk Duds. At least, Rabbit surmised it by the empty box of them sitting on top of the otter. Water guns, nerf guns, ropes and a couple safari hats were also in the corner of the room. "Dear Lord," Rabbit thought.
He came back into the bedroom blank-faced, and decided he would go to the computer. Whatever had changed them much must've been some scientific bullshit, whether or not Hare had any personal hand in it, or had known he did. Rabbit turned the computer on and continued nibbling at celery, but he was getting a headache from all of the goddamned squinting! As Hare's desktop loaded, a blue logo spread over the center of the screen and Rabbit heard a "popping noise".
"What the hell is this?" He wondered. He leaned back in his seat and tried to make out the words, when another window popped up, and a sort of music started playing that startled him. "My word, I, I, what is going on here~?" He clicked a random green button and a video came up of some woman with bunny ears. Rabbit's eyes enlarged, but she didn't say anything, just moved her hands around a lot. "What a strange video for He'a~ to have on his computa~," Rabbit thought to himself aloud. He figured out where the "X" button was and gave himself a task.
"I-I guess I'll check the forecast."
Knees killing him and strength expired, Hare was sweeping up the throne room with a missing twinkle in his eye. Except for the alarm clock and the lukewarm shower, the early morning ritual had been of some entertainment, but he couldn't believe how much work Rabbit had to do before even half the day was over. If he were back in his own body, he was sure he'd be either on Hatter's couch catching the last few minutes of Rachel Ray, or perhaps out in the yard gathering some veggies for later. He took a moment to stand as straight as he could, despite wobbling with those utterly handicapping blades, and pretended he was sucking in the fresh atmosphere of his garden. All he got was dusty palace air.
He bent down to sweep the dirt into a pan, on the verge of sliding one way or the other the whole time, when he heard a whistle from outside. His turn alone brought the wheels out from under him and his ginormous bunny ass met the floor. Luckily, his fluffy tail lessened the impact.
"Hi Rabbit~" Hatter greeted. He watched him step gracefully down the checkered floor and remembered he could come nowhere near him in this get-up. Instead, he gave him a friendly smile from the floor and timidly waved with his long white fingers.
"Oh, hello~! What brings you here?" He tried to respond with neutrality.
"Have you seen Hare around at all?"
Hare frowned, conjuring his most convincing answer. "Nope, I cahn't say that I have. That bloke is all 6's and 7's, idn't he?!"
He coughed. "Uh, nothing."
"That's odd. He told me he was visiting you like an hour ago." Hatter scratched the back of his head.
"OH! You mean Haaare! Yes, he stopped by. I'm sorry, I'm just so old I forget these things all the time."
"Oh. Okay..." Hatter tilted his head and lent his hand out to him. Hare gulped before reaching for it, but the Rabbit's body proved to be more of a struggle to pull up than for either were prepared. As he slipped around a little, he fell into Hatter's arm, who reacted to the sudden tug by dropping forward and gripping Hare by the shoulder.
Once he could maintain his balance, Hare placed a hand over his heart. "PHEW! That was close, wasn't it? H'ha-ha-haehehgh!"
Hatter squinted. "Yyyyeah... so is he here, or what?"
"Well, he's not, but... Uhhh... I think he wanted time alone."
"Oh, then I guess I'd better head back-"
"N- wait!" Hare plead, placing a hand on his forearm. "Why don't you... stay here and keep me company?" He flashed a smile and Hatter could not remember a time he had seen so many of Rabbit's teeth. His disbelief at being asked was not lost on Hare at all and the smile drooped as quickly as it came. "I-I-I'm just rather tired, and I could use some... you know, sense of huma~ like yo'a~s." That sounded really British, he thought.
"You want... mmm-..." Hatter's lips squiggled up before he could clarify. "I... would, but... Hare and I actually had something planned today. I don't know why he just disappeared, but if he's mad at me, I figure I should find out."
"He's not mad at you!" "Rabbit" curled his fingers and raised them before his mouth. "I mean, he only had good things to say when I saw him, so..."
"What-... what exactly did you guys need to do this morning?"
"Ohhh... He was... borrowing a few books of mine. It, uh... turns out we have some common interests, and... even though I'm always mean to him, he wouldn't stop bothering me about them, so..." He swished his hands and nodded a little as the bullshit poured. "I just said 'here~'." Hatter sort of mirrored with nodding of his own.
"Well hey, that's Hare for ya. Never had one book late to the library. Punctual as ever." Hare raised his eyebrows in agreement. "Except that one time. And the dancing..." he murmured, losing his grin. "Well! I'd better let you get back to your work. Busy busy, right?! I'll see you at the ball tonight?"
"Oh, of course!" Hare faked approval of his leave as Hatter swished around, coattails and all, but he watched him longingly as their distance grew. It should've been against the law to look that good every day. Especially days when his partner was in the wrong body and was feeling guilty for withholding sex.
When Hatter glanced back, he caught the bunny with his hand on the railing of the gate, giving him the sparkling eye. It discomforted him greatly. As he disappeared into the forest, Hare took a deep frustrated breath and furrowed his brow, uninspired to return to his work and gripping to the gate like it was all he had left in the world.
A long brooding moment later, the call of "RABBIT" made him grate his teeth. He was the picture of sorrow when he came to face his Queen, and, strangely enough, her harsh features sagged with what might have been pity at the sight of her lackey not even jumping by the sound of her voice. "Rabbit, what has gotten into you?! First it takes you twenty whole minutes to tend the garden, you put all the dishes in the wrong spots, you tripped down the stairs, you wrestled with the vacuum and only managed to get half the palace done, and now you're off daydreaming. This just won't cut it if we plan to have a BALL tonight."
"I-I-I know, your Majesty, and I'm trying my hardest!" He tried to come forward carefully, but exerted the force to keep him rolling right past her. He gripped the table by the entrance and it tipped on its legs in support of the lethargic bunny.
"I know that, Rabbit. I suppose you're gonna tell me you're not feeling well."
"Oh no, no no no!~ I'm alright, I just usually have a few cups of tea by now. Hatter-"
"I mean Have'a!...Cup of Tea, keeps the doctor... away..." he muttered. The Queen raised her eyebrow. "I'll go sweep up that dirt. No worries, yer Majesty! Your faithful English bunny will have the palace spick and span!" He bowed repeatedly, but the Queen maintained her expression.
For the first real time in the past 24 hours, Hatter was pretty annoyed. He had a good evening with Hare, tasting his ice cream, going for a late-night walk through the woods, and falling asleep after telling a bunch of really immature jokes. But it wasn't like Hare to wake up and run out the back door, and just be gone for half a day. And now he was borrowing books from Rabbit? To make it worse, Alice passed him on her way to God knows where with even more conflicting information.
He frowned as he treaded the path back towards Hare's house, hoping the Tweedles wouldn't see him wandering around by himself like some idiot.
When he reached the porch, his finger went straight for the doorbell. After a long long while, his partner opened the door. Hatter grimaced. His hair was slicked back with some pretty heavy-duty mousse. He was sporting a clean white button-down shirt, and a pair of brown slacks. Hatter covered his mouth with his hand and stumbled back, holding on to a pillar to keep from back-stepping any further. "Wh! G-"
"Oh, hello, Hatta~."
"Can I help you?"
"Can I help you?" Hatter replied off-handedly. When his eyes reached the floor, he saw Hare was also sporting a pair of penny-loafers to match. "Did you get in a fight with your closet or something?"
"Hare" squinted. "Of course not. Don't be silly. One can only wear such juvenile clothing for so long in life. What am I, thirty-six? Thirty-seven?"
"...Thirty-four and a half," Hatter corrected with a weakened voice. He stared at him a moment longer, while "Hare" just gave him a bored look that suggested Hatter had hardly yet justified why he was there. Hatter collected himself and pulled a shirt and some glasses out of nowhere. "You left these back at my place." He held out the yellow button-down and "Hare" received it like it was riddled with anthrax.
"Ehhhh... thank you." He tossed it on a nearby shelf and put on the glasses. "Oh, that's better. My-"
"Alice said you were playing Mewok by yourself!" Hatter interrupted. "Now why in the world wouldn't you tell me about that?!"
"Hare" apparently lost interest in hanging around the doorway, so he sort of gestured over his shoulder for Hatter to come inside while he returned to what he was doing. "Practicing was more what I was doing~. Calm down, Hatter." But Hatter was pretty taken aback by all the open boxes on the floor. Not only that, but Hare had broken inventions of his that he was sure he'd never see again.
"Uhhh, what exactly are you doing?"
"Oh, you really have no idea, do you? Well, I'm just going to get to the bottom of it."
"The bottom of what?"
"You know what I'm talking about." Hatter watched as his most endearingly erratic partner sifted through various things while looking like some kind of door-to-door Jehovah's Witness. He looked very intent to find something, but Hatter was getting more exasperated by the second. He stepped back against the couch and crossed his arms, then tapped his fingers against his arms.
"The only thing I know is that you're acting really weird. Whg-did you just forget you were supposed to help me get a head-start on the Queen's hat for the annual garden party?!" "Hare" took his time answering. He closed a box, ran his fingers across his brow, stood up, and put a hand on his hip.
"Do I ever have a day to myself? Besides, the Queen has enough parties. Maybe if you don't make the hat, she'll give everybody a break."
"But you love the garden party!"
"I suppose you're right; I do, don't I?" He answered, shoving a bunch of stuff back into the closet and scanning the room for further interests. "I'm the one who always double-dips in the dressing, as if it's all mine! Ohhh, nevermind~. Why don't you fix yourself some tea? There's enough for the entire kingdom. And here's the remote." He leaned over the couch and slapped it into Hatter's highly hesitant hand. "I'll be busy, so go ahead and entertain yourself."
Hatter sunk into the couch and turned on Wonderland's Most Extreme Break-Ins, but kept looking over his shoulder. He couldn't keep himself from making conversation with him, even though "Hare" seemed far too over him.
"I can't believe the Queen got drunk last night. I honestly thought if we sang a song, she'd brighten up."
"Well, perhaps now you'll know a little better about, ugh, her," he grunted, tugging at a drawer in the kitchen and taking a peek. "Nothing breaks her out of a bad mood, Hatta~. Her discontentment is much like the hangover she's likely having today – it simply has to pass~."
"Hah, you sound like Rabbit. Was that some sort of imitation of him?" Hatter chortled, hoping "Hare"'s sense of humor was behind this entire personality change, but "Hare" was quietly investigating something and didn't seem to hear him. "Speaking of which, Rabbit's acting even stranger than you are."
"Rabbit?" His partner looked up. "Don't be silly, now. He's the most civilized of all of us, really."
Hatter leaned over the top of the couch. "Should I just go? I don't think this is very funny. And I guess we're not going to make that hat together."
"Do as you like, Hatta~. It's good to get some fresh air, after all."
Hatter casted down his face and turned off the television. "I'll see you at the ball, then. If you're even going."
"I kind of have to. He'a- Rabbit's bound to-... Oh, nevermind. Until later~," "Hare" said with his back towards Hatter.
Hatter walked away from the house in a state of utmost confusion. If this were even a single flavor more of fucked up, he would have woken up by now and told Hare all about it. And they both would have shaken their heads with crinkled features, as if they had bitten into something incredibly bitter.
Instead, he just kept making that face while returning home, but, suddenly, he heard music.