Continuing Tales

I Love My Love

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by justadram

Part 11 of 22

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I Love My Love

Later that same day…

The Hatter returned to the Hat House and entered expecting to see Alice buzzing about the flowers outside like a pretty little bee or busying herself about the workroom, but she was not outside and she was not anywhere to be seen in the workroom either. The door to his bedchamber was shut, but he wondered at her still being asleep. He had left her for over two hours. It was not yet dusk, but if Alice was going to be able to sleep tonight, it would be best that she not sleep much longer, Tarrant considered. Yet, he was loath to disturb her, so he waited quietly on his stool for Sleepy Alice to awaken on her own.

Time can go by very slowly when one is compelled to be silent and constantly look at one's pocket watch. Not even butter would do the trick and smooth the way for Time to advance apace. Eventually an hour had passed, however, and Tarrant nervously began to pace outside her door. Just as Mally had suggested he would, he thought with chagrin. Finally, he stopped in front of the door, clenching and unclenching his fists, trying to decide whether or not to rap on the door.

He cleared his throat, frowning and raising his fist to the door. He counted silently to himself, waiting to see if Alice would wake before he counted down from ten to zero. She did not. He knocked softly on the door. He waited a beat, but there was silence. He rapped again and softly called her name through the door. Still there was silence.

"Alice," he called more insistently, knocking with force.

When she still did not respond, he began to panic. Perhaps he should not have agreed to leave her behind while he went to tea. Perhaps Alice had been harmed. Perhaps she could not answer him, because…

"She does not rouse," the knob informed him.

"That much is obvious," he muttered.

He grabbed the knob and pulled the door open, training his eyes on the ground in case Alice was not decent. One does not simply burst into ladies' rooms, after all.

"Alice?" he said gently, as he stood in the doorway.

He chanced a look up, when she did not immediately respond. She was beneath the bed sheets, clothed in his billowing white nightshirt with her wavy blonde hair splayed across his pillow and her flushed cheek turned to the wall. Alice was in his bed. His heart beat rapidly, and he pinched the inside of wrist to stop the rush of Thoughts that threatened to overwhelm him.

"'Tis getting late, lassie," he said, tilting his head and waiting to see her brown eyes open.

Her head lolled on the pillow, but she still did not wake. Something was not right. The Hatter strode towards his bed and leaned down over Alice, touching the back of his hand to her forehead. She was warm, very warm.

"Dear one, wake up, luve," he urged her, stroking her cheek with a trembling hand.

Her eyes finally fluttered open, but they were glassy with fever.

"Alice, why is a raven like a writing desk?" he whispered.

"Hatter," she exhaled, licking her lips. She attempted to rise up on her arms, but failing, she slipped back into the bed sheets. "Where?" she mumbled.

"Shh…" he whispered, wiping her brow. "Ye'r here wi' me. A'm here noo. Dae ye nae feel weel?"

She drew a deep breath and then grimaced. "Your eyes," she finally responded, trying to focus on his gaze.

"'Tis awricht. A'm juist worried aboot ye, laddie."[1]

Her eyes closed again, and he pressed his hand to hers, where it lay feverishly griping the sheets.

"I'm sorry…"she began weakly, "for taking your shirt."

He could not address the pilfering of his nightshirt at this moment without risking her seeing his eyes turn blue. So, he studiously ignored her apology.

"Dae ye need watter? Tea? Broth? Whit would mak' ye feel better?"

Alice mumbled something that he could not understand. He stroked his thumb over her knuckles, but she did not seem to register either his question or his touch. How could he leave Alice three hours ago merely feeling weary and now she be so ill? Was this some sort of Otherlander sickness? He had no idea how to help her if so. Would she be even worse in another three hours? Could she… He would not allow himself to think It. If he did, then he surely would be overcome by the madness, and she needed him to be as sane as possible.

A moment carefully composed sane thought produced a plan of action: he had to get her to the Queen. The Queen had potions, which she could use to make Alice better, best, fully right again.

Tarant pulled back the sheets, exposing Alice's pale legs to the air, and she shivered against the mattress tick. Swallowing, he slipped an arm behind her back and hooked his hand under her arm.

"A'm gaein tae pick ye up," he told her, although she did not seem to notice his actions. "We sall gae tae Marmoreal, Alice," he continued, as he slipped his other arm under her knees and lifted her from the bed. Her head fell against his chest. "Th' Queen will knaw whit tae dae."

Breathing heavily, the Hatter still refused to hand over Alice to the Knight, who was offering to take her from him.

"Th' Queen," he managed to pant out, readjusting his slipping grip on Alice's bare legs. He knew it was not possible, but she seemed to have grown progressively heavier as he made his way to the castle. "Ah hiv tae see th' Queen."

"Oh, goodness!" a voice exclaimed from behind him.

He chanced a look over his shoulder and saw Nivens wringing his hands.

"Th' Queen," he repeated.

"Goodness! Call for the Queen!" Nivens demanded of the Knight. "Is the Champion dead?" he whispered.

"Na," he said, his knees beginning to buckle. That was the Word he could not ponder.

"You will drop her, Hatter, which would be entirely unacceptable. You must let someone take her."

There was no way he was handing her over to anyone. Instead, he leaned his shoulder into the wall, shoring himself up.

"What is wrong with the Champion?" Nivens asked, approaching more closely with a twitching nose.

"Ah dinna knaw. Th' Queen will knaw whit tae dae." That assurance was the only thing that was keeping him from breaking apart into sixteen hundred pieces.[2]

He was beginning to see stars. When had he gone back outside? And why was Time messing around again? Time was such a fickle fellow.

"Hatter?" a voice called to him.

He lifted his head off the wall, trying to focus on the voice before him.

"Hatter, you've done well."

It was the Queen, he realized with relief.

"Will you let us take her?" she asked, her hands floating near Alice. "So we can get her to bed and I might have a look at her?"

"A'll carry her," he said, shrugging off the wall.

"Can you?" Mirana asked, her face trying to assume a look of hopefulness.


The Queen motioned for him to follow her, and he stumbled forward. The Knight who had originally wanted to take Alice from him was also following; and he was following so closely, seemingly indicating that Alice would be better off if he would only hand her over. He would never give her up. Alice needed him.

"This way. In here," the Queen said, ushering him in a bedchamber. "Lay her down here," she said indicating the bed with a wave of her hand.

While he did not have much energy left, he summoned up what he did have to carefully lay her on the downy white bed, so that she would not be jostled by the movement. Despite his best efforts, her head slipped from his chest and rolled on the pillow, making her moan slightly.

"How long has she been like this?" Mirana asked, coming to stand at his shoulder and lean down over the sick girl.

Hatter lifted his hat off his head and gripped it tightly in front of himself, watching as Mirana brushed sweat dampened blonde hair from Alice's face. A panicked voice inside of him was screaming, 'Don't touch her!' but he knew that he had brought Alice here so that the Queen would help. Sometimes the voices confused him.

"Uh…" he murmured. "A few hours." He shifted on his feet, turning his hat nervously in his hands. "Th' lassie is feverish."

"Yes, she is," the Queen nodded. "Alice?" Mirana said, trying to get Alice to rouse from her fitful sleep.

"She wilna wake up, Yer Majesty. Ah tried."

Mirana ran her hands over the hem of the nightshirt, which did not cover as much of Alice's legs as he would have liked, carrying her as he had through the open air. Normally he would not have objected to a private display of Alice legs, Alice legs poking out from Hatter nightshirts. He cleared his throat, worrying that the Queen would misunderstand Alice's attire. That she might think there had been some impropriety on his part. Perhaps he should have wrapped her up before he embarked for the palace—for propriety and warmth

"Dang, daft, deleerit," he muttered, cursing his insanity.[3]

The Queen paused in her examination of Alice to place a hand on his shoulder, "Alice will need you to be well, when she wakes, my dear Hatter. You did well to bring her here, but you need to rest now."

"Ye can mend her?" he asked, swallowing around the Fear that was threatening to choke him.

"She has just come back from Otherland?" Mirana asked, caressing Alice's flushed cheek with the back of her index finger.

"Earlier th'day."[4]

The Queen sighed, "I'm afraid that she may have an Otherland illness."

He had just found her and now he was going to lose her. Found and Lost. ALICE! The voices were shrieking in his head. "Then ye canna mend her?"

Mirana's hands hovered at her shoulders as she pondered for a minute. "I'll send Nivens Above to fetch a medical book to help me with my diagnosis, and then I'll brew up the recommended potion."

She seemed certain of her Abilities and that helped quiet the voices.

"But sit, Hatter. Sit," she said, motioning towards a chair some ten paces away from the bed.

It was further than he would have liked from Alice, but he was so very tired and perhaps the Queen was right. Alice might need him to be rested. The Queen might need to call on his services. He was, after all, only a few quick steps away.

[1] awricht – all right (Sc)

[2] Afternoon tea can be taken between three and five or roughly, sixteen hundred hours, a number of great lasting significance for the Hatter.

[3] daft – mentally deranged (Sc); deleerit – delirious (Sc)

[4] the day or th'day – today (Sc)

I Love My Love

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by justadram

Part 11 of 22

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