Author's Note: Sorry for the absolute randomness of this little fic here. This is based off a dream I had last night and you guys know how random and meaningless a dream like this can be. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! :) And yes, this is slightly more modern day and Alice is more tomboy than a prissy girly girl. No offense intended to the prissy girly girls that read this fic.

Disclaimer: I don't own "Alice in Wonderland".

Like and review please! Reviews make me happy and make me wanna write a new chapter! :)


Prologue: Alice vs. Hatter

"Clean cup! Clean cup! Move down, move down, move down!"

I jumped at the sudden proclamation as my cup was yanked out of my hand and thrown across the yard and pushed out of my seat by my overexcited companion, urging me to run down the length of the table. Getting just enough room between us as he continued pushing me down the length of the table, I sidestepped him as he continued on to another seat before stopping and looking around as if he lost something. "Looking for someone?" I called after him, getting his attention and a surprised look on his face.

"How did that happen?"

I rolled my eyes at the white haired man's simplemindedness and remarked, "That goes to show you how clueless you are, Reggie, if I can sidestep you and you not notice." The Hatter scowled at this and backtracked to where I stood, poised to grab hold of me. I watched him warily as he continued to draw near until he was practically standing on top of me and craning his neck downward to look at me. "You didn't move down," he said casually, acting as if he were commenting on the weather. "No, I didn't and I won't do it unless you were to make me," I replied snappily, standing my ground as the Hatter's form loomed over me and jumped as I felt strong hands grab hold of my thin waist. Yanking myself out of the madman's grasp, I delivered a slap across the face and glared. "Come on, Cricket. Don't make me fight you," he coaxed, body tensed as if ready to spring into action if I resisted.

"And if I don't move? What will you do then, Hatter? Carry me?" I asked sarcastically, taking a few steps back as he moved a little closer to me than I would've liked him to be. "That can be arranged," he stated, a mischievous glint coming to his eyes as he again made a grab at me. "Don't you dare," I warned, screaming as the Hatter wrapped his hands around me and threw me over his shoulder in a dead man's carry and began back down the length of the table set up in the garden.

"Hatter! Put me down!" I shouted, pounding on his back to get him to let me down though he wouldn't until he was satisfied with the new location at the table. Finally after being jostled around and staring down the colorful man's back, he sat me down in a plain wooden chair and took a seat on my right. "Was that so hard?" he asked, smiling at me. I shook my head vigorously and pushed my hair out of my face from when I had been held upside down and my cheeks red from his arm holding me in place over his shoulder with one hand draped across my lower back and the other on the back of my knees to keep me from kicking him in the face from the manhandling.

I didn't respond, merely glaring at him and attempted to make myself a cup of tea when it was promptly snatched from my hands. "Reg, if you don't want me here, you could've just said so up front!" I stated angrily, getting up and made for the gate that encompassed the Mad Tea Party Garden. "You'll be back, Cricket! I'll be waiting for you!" the hatmaker called after me, further irking me with everything I have to deal with when in his presence.

That had gotten me thinking: if I can't stand him and all his quirks, why do I keep going back to see him? "That's it. I've said this too many times before, but I mean it when I say it now: I'm never going back there again," I said to myself, nodding my head in finalization of my statement and continued on my way home.

Nearly a month passed since the awkward situation with Hatter and so far I kept true to my word of staying away from the endless tea party. At times, a crazy flight of fancy would cross my mind and wonder what the mercury addled man has been doing, but I pushed the thought aside, knowing if I kept thinking on it, I would become curious and my curiosity would lead me to the entrance of the Mad Tea Party Garden and the deranged man that never seemed to leave the premises.

Of course, it would also would've given me an excuse to get out of wearing the dress my mother laid out for me to wear today.

"Oh, Alice, that looks so becoming on you!" my mother gushed, tying my hair back with a black satin ribbon like she used to do when I was little. I faked a smile at her in my reflection though I'm cringing on the inside. Playing along with my mother's wishes for now, I smoothed out the imaginary wrinkles in the fabric that made up the dress and asked, "You think so?" The older woman nodded, kissing my cheek before leaving me alone.

...

The Hatter was at a loss for what to do. Alice hadn't turned up at the tea table in a month and he wondered if she finally decided to leave Wonderland permanently this time like she threatened so many times before. So naturally, he didn't have someone that wasn't the March Hare or the Dormouse to harass while they drank their tea.

What he didn't expect to see was the object of his thoughts sitting alone at a table outside a café at the end of the street. The Hatter stopped, taking in the sight of the blonde, taking note of the light blue frock dress she wore instead of a shirt covered in tea stains and shorts like she would always wear to the tea party. For the first time, the Hatter didn't know how to react to the blonde who had refused to make an appearance in his neck of the woods for some time.

Taking a deep breath, the Hatter mustered up what muchness he could before it could escape and made a beeline for Alice.

...

I stared at the teacup sitting innocently on its saucer before me, half expecting it to be taken away from me by the Mad Hatter before I realized he isn't here and couldn't stop me from drinking the beverage if I wanted to. Picking up the delicate piece of china, my eyes instinctively darted around to make sure I wouldn't be robbed of the drink (as is a force of habit since my first tea party in the company of the Mad Hatter, March Hare, and Dormouse) before I took a sip. It was like the cup of tea my sister made this morning which was a little mild by my standards and definitely did not reach the Hatter's sky high expectations of the drink.

"Hello, Cricket," a familiar voice said from behind, prompting me to roll my eyes out of slight irritation of the man, but it was more out of habit than real irritation. Looking up and over my shoulder at the Hatter, I sighed and answered, "Hey." There was a moment where we didn't say anything and the white haired man took a seat across from me, striking up random conversation with me and occasionally pointing at various things he thought interesting in the masses of people that occupied the streets of Wonderland, keeping me thoroughly amused like he always does.

"If you'll excuse me, I have to get going now," he said distractedly, getting up and left before I could say anything else. I shrugged and thought nothing more of it, returning to the cup of nearly forgotten tea to find Hatter must've drank it while I wasn't looking. I scowled at this, but instead shrugged it off, knowing he would've done it if we were anywhere else, especially at the Mad Tea Party.

The sound of breaking glass drew me from my thoughts as I jolted in my seat and turned around to look at the Mad Hatter incredulously, wondering how in the world he could just sneak up on me like he did, considering the man isn't able to keep quiet long. For a moment, my gaze flicked between the man and the pile of broken plates at his feet. The platinum blonde watched me with an odd smile on his face, sensing he had my attention and wouldn't be losing it any time soon.

"He broke it!" the Hatter proclaimed childishly, pointing to a young boy standing near him. The child paused, his gaze flicking between me and the man, shaking his head vigorously and pointing at Hatter by way of saying, "No, I didn't! He did!" I sighed, placing my hands on my hips and looked back to the boy. "Did you see him do it?" I asked him, getting rewarded with a nod. Looking back up, I found the madman wasn't where I left him, but rather, hiding behind a garbage can and trying to be inconspicuous.

"Don't think for a moment I can't see you hiding behind there, Reginald Theophilus!"

The Mad Hatter flinched at the sound of his name, peering out from behind the garbage can and waved at me with a nervous smile on his face. "You know you're in trouble. Get over here," I ordered, pointing at the spot before me, staring the mercury addled man down. Reggie, surprisingly, did as I bid of him and stepped out in the open with gloved hands raised in the air as if in surrender.

"Come here, Reg," I ordered, crooking a finger at him in a 'come hither' motion and leveled him with a stern look that would've been appropriate on the face of a mother reprimanding her child. He then took a large step backwards.

"Don't think about it," I warned him, taking a few steps forward.

The Hatter flashed me a mock innocent smile from over his shoulder as he turned in the opposite direction of me. And...

He ran.

"Get back here! Hatter!" I shouted, sprinting after him, not caring if I messed up the dress my mother had insisted I wear today. Same old Reg, always running away to avoid confrontation, I thought, keeping the streak of bright orange and green in my line of sight as I chased the man through the crowds.