Alicia smiled to herself as she walked into her house. Finally, she had some time to herself. Without waiting to take her boots off Alicia strode quickly to her bookshelves and selected her favourite book. Smiling, she sat down on her sofa and toed her boots off before curling up to read.

Immersed by her book, Alicia didn't notice her front door open, or a shadowy figure move towards her. In fact she didn't notice anything at all until she heard a voice right behind her.

"What are you reading, Wash?"

Alicia was taken so by surprise that she jumped, nearly dropping her book. Her finger slid along the page it had been about to turn and broke the skin.

"Nathaniel," she moaned, sucking gently on her finger, "don't surprise me like that."

He merely chuckled unapologetically. The glare she sent him doing nothing to stop him.

"You've given me a paper cut," she continued, "it stings."

"Who'd have thought it, the indomitable Lieutenant Washington, defeated by a paper cut."

"Not funny Nathaniel."

"It is," he contradicted, "just a bit."

"No Nathaniel. It's not."

Realising that if he pushed her much further she might get really mad and kick him out, Nathaniel decided he should probably stop riling her up.

"Would you like me to go and find a plaster," he offered.

"Paper cuts hardly bleed. They just sting. I don't need a plaster." Alicia said sounding annoyed.

"I was only trying to help," replied Nathaniel.

"You aren't helping, you're just annoying me."

"So tell me how I can help. I want to do something to cheer you up."

Grinning Alicia had an idea and offered her book to Nathaniel, "Here, you can read this to me."

Nathaniel smiled; relieved she was no longer angry with him. He took the book and sat down beside Alicia who snuggled up against him.

"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, chapter one …"