"Alice~!" Peter squealed, spotting the long brown hair of his true love as she disappeared into the forest. At his cry, she picked up her pace into a light run ad he stowed his watch-gun away in his vest pocket to chase her ardently.

'How coy!' Peter thought excitedly, 'she's so in love with me that she wants us to be alone together!' he saw her hiding and cried out a gleeful 'I found you!' that set her running again without any protests.

She would usually yell at him now, but did not! Peter beamed at that fact.

"Alice, my love!" He cried, "I'm coming! Don't worry!" His smile fell as she stumbled, fell heavily, and leaned against a tree. She hid her face against the bark and rose unsteadily, her skirt torn on the one side. Peter made it to her side, worried for her, and reached out ahead to hug her close to him.

Alice spun, back pressing to the tree; "Why are you following me?!"

Peter jerked when Alice's teary eyes burned into him, the redness in her face a sign that she'd been crying for a while, and felt his heart ache. As he continued to stare, Peter's crimson eyes picked out her rumpled clothes and a mark on her arm she was trying to hide.

"Ali-" "Don't!" Alice snapped, pushing his extended hand away. "Do not say a word!"

"Ali-" "Don't! I said 'don't'!" Alice shoved at his chest and he caught her arm lightly, intending to pull her close. At his touch, Alice's eyes widened and he saw the fear in them before she ripped free and ran like a frightened rabbit. Peter gave chase until he caught her in the circle of his arms and Alice whimpered against him, thrashing.

"Alice," Peter whispered, pressing his face into her hair and breathing deeply. "Alice, Alice, Alice," he could feel her little body shaking against his and he held her tightly, no bothered by her clenching and unclenching hands. She was his love and he would help her no matter what. "Alice, I love you, I'm here, you're fine, Alice," Peter whispered as many things as he could, petting Alice's hair as he held her close. "Everything is fine, I love you, you're safe, I lo"

"Stop." Alice pushed off his chest and managed to get free. "Why are you here, Peter? Stop following me!" She wasn't happy, Peter knew, and he did the only thing he could; talk.

"Alice, I love you, I do, I love you the most and I love you always. Please don't be sad, Alice. I love you." Peter rambled, carefully edging forward until he was close again. Alice almost seemed bewitched by his confessions of love, so he kept speaking of his affection for her over and over. He didn't want to see her sad. "Alice, dear, I love you so more than the whole world. You're so beautiful and I love you, and so gentle, and I love y-"

Suddenly Alice was crying again, rubbing her eyes with her small hands, and he was almost at a loss for what to do.

"Alice?!" Peter gasped, bending down to her level and cradling her cheeks with both hands. "Alice, I'm sorry; I love you. Don't cry! I love you so much!"

"I… I-I'm sorry,,," Alice hiccupped, rubbing at the waterfalls of tears as they fell. "You-You're so nice a-and I… I just…" Peter shushed Alice lovingly, usually a taboo, and stroked her face. "I'm so-"

"Alice, I love you. I love every itty-bitty bit of you and I always will love you." Peter promise, filling Alice's eyes with hope. Peter bit the inside of his cheek with concern. "Alice, what happened? I love you…" He coaxed her into speaking with his coos and promises, eventually getting the whole story from her.

"Blood was… just… I didn't think…" Peter understood immediately. "I couldn't-"

"Oh, Alice!" peter gasped, "Shh, shh! I love you, Alice. I love you! Don't cry!"

Peter wrapped Alice in a hug, squeezing tight, and kept whispering in her ear as much as he could. He didn't care if he sounded like a fool; he just wanted his beautiful Alice to stop crying.

Alice clung to his arm, ands fisted in his coat, and sniffled softly.

"Alice…" Peter sighed, slowly taking a knee and lifting her into his arms like the princess she was. "Alice, you're safe now… I love you… I love you so much." Peter felt Alice press closer, lost in her own misery and his kind words, and didn't question his good fortune; Alice was loving him back, even if only for a moment.