Alice sat down heavily on the seat that a suit had procured for her. The looking glass was not working. It had stayed open for an hour but she hadn't been quick enough to get through. Jack's words rang in her ears: it could take weeks, months or even years to get the looking glass working again. She was stuck here. What would her mom think? She would just disappear and her mother would be all alone.
Jack saw her sitting there looking lost and approached.
"Alice during your stay here, however long that is, I swear you will not want for anything. We will have a place arranged for you immediately." He smiled kindly but she was not paying attention to him. She was watching the man across the room who was watching their exchange sadly and Alice could swear she saw jealousy lurking in his eyes. Soon her eyes snapped away from Hatter to focus on Jack.
"Thank you Jack but no. I think I can find my way myself." With this said she made her way over to the man who was speaking quietly to Charlie. They hadn't noticed her yet and were speaking in hushed tones.
"Harbinger, why don't you go and do something?" Charlie questioned and Hatter sighed angrily.
"Because, Charlie, she doesn't need me. She has Jack now. That's all she's wanted." Alice decided she needed to make her presence known now before anything too awkward was said. She cleared her throat causing the two to jump and turn to her, looking innocent.
"Alice! Uh, we were just talking about you and um actually never mind that," Hatter rambled planting a smile on his face.
"So you all set to be Queen or what?" he asked with an awkward laugh but she could hear the sad undertones. She shook her head lightly.
"Um no actually." The smile dropped from Hatter's face then and he actually looked angry.
"Really? After all you did to save him and all of Wonderland and he didn't even have the decency to offer you the throne? Unbelievable!" Hatter ranted angrily, all the while glaring at the back of Jack's head.
"Hatter, calm down!" she ordered and he stopped and watched her in interest.
"He did ask me but I turned him down," she finished looking up at him from under her eyelashes.
He looked at her in shock and Alice couldn't decide if he was happy or not.
"What?" he answered finally, seeming unable to think straight. Alice watched as he opened and closed his mouth a few times, obviously trying to think of what to say. She decided she would explain her choice, well what she was willing to divulge anyway.
"I just….you know I thought I'd take you up on your offer," She started shyly and he frowned.
"My offer?" he asked and he seemed deep in thought, trying to remember what he'd offered her when Alice decided she'd have to remind him.
"Remember? You said if I couldn't get back, you'd make sure I was okay." His face lit up in recognition and something else she didn't quite understand. There was a moment of silence when they both thought back to the situation and they remembered the kiss that had almost taken place. He cleared his throat.
"Uh, right well, you know I kind of thought you'd prefer to stay in a palace where it's warm and comfy. I mean surely even though you turned down Jack, he offered to give you a place to stay." Alice sighed. Maybe he didn't want her after all. She knew she would be safe enough staying where Jack offered but she had come to rely solely on the man before her in the time she was here and she didn't want to be without him so soon.
"He did but I just thought….you know what it's cool. It's okay, you obviously don't want me around and I don't want to cause any problems." She began to turn around when a hand on her arm stopped her.
"No, it's just I want you to be in the best place while you're stuck here." She turned back to him with a smile and he released her arm quickly.
"The best place for me is with you. You're the only one in all of Wonderland that I trust." As she said this she swore she saw him tear up but he smiled still and she hugged him. It felt good to finally hug him with no more worries or cares about life and death situations. Alice heard an annoyed huff soon though and she turned to Charlie questioningly.
"Humph, how can one not trust me? I am the most trustworthy of all the trustworthy people there ever were or will be!" Alice laughed and placed a hand on the knight's arm.
"Hatter is the only one I trust apart from you Charlie." The knight straightened into a gentlemanly posture at the compliment and bowed in thanks. As she turned back to Hatter she noticed he had been watching her attentively the whole time and she asked.
"What?" He smiled brushing some of her hair from her face.
"Nothing, you just look happy." She smiled brightly.
"Well I am." He took her hand and led her from the place.
Walking into Wonderland's streets once more felt like stepping into a battlefield after a war. It was all quiet and it looked terrible. They stepped briskly through the rubble and Alice found that the heights didn't bother her so much anymore. It was probably mostly due to the man at her side.
"Where are we going?" Alice asked as they walked. He turned to her briefly before continuing walking.
"Back to my place; The Tea Shop. Hopefully, if I'm right, it should be empty." Alice pursed her lips but followed along quietly. She was not in any hurry to return to where everything started.
They soon reached the Tea Shop. It was deadly quiet and it looked empty. They walked up to the doors and Alice made to go in but Hatter held her back. She looked at him in question.
"Alice, there is still a plentiful supply of tea in there and most Wonderlanders aren't going to be immediately happy about the new changes. We have to be careful and most of all we have to make sure no one finds you. If anyone finds out there's an oyster still around there'll be mayhem!" Hatter explained. Alice nodded in understanding and they both slowly walked inside, with Hatter in front.
Thankfully Hatter had been right; the place was empty. They walked through the entrance and into the main shop area which had been ransacked. There was smashed glass everywhere and Alice was thankful she had her boots on. Hatter didn't seem fazed by the shambles that remained of the shop though and he confidently led the way through to where she had first met him.
Now that she wasn't entirely focused on finding Jack, she took a proper look around. She didn't really take much notice before but the ground was entirely made of grass. The grass at the entrance was slightly dead looking but as you went further in the grass looked very healthy and luxurious.
"Can I ask why all the grass? I didn't really notice before but it's just in my world we don't normally have grass on the inside," Alice asked as she followed him.
He gave a frown and then he answered.
"Well it's some of the only grass left in Wonderland. I had the tea shop built around this area so I could keep it. I keep forgetting all of this is strange to you. You just fit in so well here I sometimes forget you're an oyster."
Alice sighed in slight annoyance.
"Can we drop the whole oyster thing now? It's not really relevant anymore is it?"
"That's fair enough. What do they call you in your world?" he asked in interest and she frowned before realizing what he meant.
"Oh, we're called humans." She watched as he furrowed his brow and shook his head as if that was the strangest thing he had heard in his life.
"Well we're lucky. The suits didn't trash it as bad as I'd thought so we should be safe here. To be sure though, I'll seal off this place from the shop so no one can get in. We still don't know how the people will react to the news and if things turn out badly, then we may have rioting on our hands," he explained as he pressed a few buttons on the wall. She heard a loud bang and she jumped.
"Don't worry that's just the locking mechanism. I haven't had to do this for a while, not since the last Alice was here," he said closing up the panel on the wall before heading to the closet, putting the coat she had borrowed back. Alice blanched at what he said. He had said when they first met that the other Alice had come here over a hundred and fifty years ago. She decided not to ask about it yet. She was too tired for any new information. But it made her think, how did time work here? How long was she gone in her world?
"Come on, let's go to the main house and I'll show you where you can sleep." She followed after him as he made his way through a door she hadn't noticed until now. The atmosphere was different through here. It looked like a comfy cozy home you would see in storybooks. The white color scheme was gone, now replaced by browns and reddish tones, which reminded Alice fondly of home. He opened a door then and they both stepped in.
"Here we are. This can be your room. There's a bathroom through there and there's a bookshelf in the corner if you get bored." Alice smiled at the room. It was beautiful. The walls were reddish brown and the carpet was non-existent, in place once again was lush, beautiful grass. Alice stared at the bed longingly. She hadn't noticed how tired she was with all the running and fighting but now she was able to relax all she wanted was sleep. He seemed to notice this so he cleared his throat before making to leave the room.
"What're you going to do?" she asked curiously. He smiled at her.
"Well as much as I'd like to get some sleep, there's heaps of stuff I've got to do. Namely get in touch with the King and find out what's going on. I'll also look into arranging some clothes for you 'cause as great as that dress is, I'm pretty sure it's not half comfortable anymore." She nodded in agreement, laughing softly and returning his smile. He nodded at her before again turning to leave.
Once she was alone she practically pounced on the bed. She laid her head on the soft pillow and soon she was out like a light.
A/N: Hope you liked this! This is my absolute favorite version of Alice in Wonderland (with the exception of American Mcgee's) and I think it deserve more recognition than it has. And love Andrew Lee Potts as Hatter! Such a likable character! Please review :)