When Hatter returned home from the shop, Alice was waiting for him. She was wearing a far too calm expression, and he barely had time to become alarmed before she pushed a baggie towards him across the table.
He studied it for a moment, and was able to determine that it contained a plastic stick. "It looks like a thermometer, but I'm going to guess that's not the case."
"It's a pregnancy test," Alice told him. He sat down heavily with a whoosh.
"Oh." He stared down at the two lines visible behind the clear plastic. "Twins?"
"No. Two lines just means it's positive," Alice told him. "No telling how many embryos are in there."
"We're going to be parents!" Hatter cried, looking up into Alice's face. She looked back, terrified.
"Alice?" He asked softly. There was a moment's silence, and then he continued. "We can try this again later, if you don't want to do it now. We're both young, we have time."
"No," Alice said firmly. "No, I want- I just don't want to mess this up."
"You won't mess up," Hatter automatically. Alice gave him a withering look, and he corrected himself. "You won't mess up any more than any parent does. We'll both do that. Everybody does that. And we'll probably hear all about it during the sprog's adolescence."
"You can't call our child a sprog," Alice said, smiling slightly.
"Well what are we calling them then?" Hatter asked. It hit him then that this was actually a good question. Alice had kept her surname when they married, of course: she'd gotten the name 'Hamilton' from her father, after all. He'd considered changing his, but after a bit of a think, decided that he'd rather keep Hatter as an official surname rather than an informal kenning.
"We could always portmanteau it, and go with Hammer as a surname," he suggested.
"We are not naming our kids-" Alice began, and then cut herself off when he winked at her. "Hatter!"
"Hyphens, then?" Hatter asked.
"That would probably be for the best. Though I guess we could just give one name to each."
"I thought you didn't know it was twins?" Hatter asked.
"I don't know, per say," Alice admitted. "But…"
"It does feel like it," Hatter finished for her. A father's instincts? Probably not: he'd only found out this was happening a few moments ago.
"It makes sense," she said. "Fraternal twins do run in both our families."
That was certainly true. He had Mum and Uncle Theo, who died long before he was a thought in his mother's head, and Alice had her father and Aunt Rachel, who was out in California with a set of twins of her own.
"What about other names?" Alice asked.
Hatter shrugged. Naming was different in Wonderland; when he was born, his parents had called him Nadav Arman Theophilus Hatta, and he'd gone by half a dozen others before settling in Oysterland necessitated sticking with David Theophilus Hatter, and the only unusual part of that was the settling in Oysterland. "I'm sort of supposed to pass on Theophilus. Thiaphyllis, if they're both girls. That's probably better off as a middle name."
Alice nodded. "Any objection to Robert as a first name, if there's a boy?"
"No, that's a good idea," Hatter said. "I have to admit, I haven't thought about this very much, so you're kind of stuck on your own for girls' names."
"Hm," Alice replied, taking a moment to think. "You know, if I hadn't gotten the 'alliteration is tacky' speech from Aunt Rachel so many times, I might go with Ruth- she was Dad's mother."
"Isn't that name also kind of popular now?" Hatter asked. "I hear a lot of people calling after Ruths when storytime lets out at the bookshop. We wouldn't want her to end up as Ruth number six when she goes to school."
"Another middle name then," Hatter said. "There's a a Jewish thing about not naming your kids after people who are living, yeah? That narrows the list down a bit, at least."
"Yeah," Alice replied. A moment, she added. "Though, if we named our daughter Charlene, we could call her Charlie for short."
"That would certainly make him happy," Hatter said. He tried to imagine having a little girl called Charlie. His imagination seemed to think it would involve a great deal of shouting 'no, get down from there, stop that, it's not physically possible.' Though, as she was his and Alice's child, he'd probably be doing that anyway.
"Charlene Ruth and Robert Theophilus," he said, trying it out. "Hatter-Hamilton? Hamilton-Hatter?"
"Hamilton-Hatter sounds better," Alice said, after a moment's thought.
"Charlene Ruth Hamilton-Hatter and Robert Theophilus Hamilton-Hatter," he said, nodding.
"Sounds like trouble," Alice said, smiling brightly.
"Well, naturally," Hatter agreed. "I have mentioned that if it is a boy and a girl, then they'll probably have magic, right?"
"Hatter!" Alice cried. "That's not funny."
"No, it's trouble," Hatter said.
"Are you serious?" Alice demanded.
"It doesn't generally manifest until the age of ten. Eight at the earliest," Hatter told her. He took one look at her confused face, and decided that continuing to through information at her until she was too bewildered to get angry was a good tactic. "And even then it's White Magic- not like the stuff Charlie does. No chanting, just the ability to control ravens."
"Yeah, you know, see through their eyes, cause large masses to congregate and attack, the ability to understand their squawking. I suppose that might be a way to have a larger spy network, though I'm not sure how useful that would be. Ravens are supposed to be smart, for birds, but they're still birds."
Alice stared at him.
"But like I said, there's no need to worry about that now. It'll be ten years- maybe longer, your years are shorter, I think. We've got to move into a bigger apartment and figure out who will fill in for us at work whilst the kidlets are too young to be on their own and go shopping for baby things and maternity clothes!"
Alice laughed. "Tell you what: if you can find maternity clothes that aren't terrible, I won't hold the fact that you're spring the fact that our children are going to be literally magical on me."
"Done," Hatter said, already beginning to mentally list all the ept tailors he knew in Brooklyn.
Alice shook her head. "So, I've made an appointment with the gynecologist for next Monday evening. Do you think you can make it?"
"Of course," Hatter said. "It's- we're going to be parents, I'll make all the time we need."
He grinned, suddenly giddy with it. His family was getting bigger. It wasn't just him and Alice and sometime's Alice's mother. Soon there would be Charlie and Rob- Robbie? Bob?
Oh well. They'd figure that out later.