Continuing Tales

I Love My Love

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by justadram

Part 6 of 22

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I Love My Love

The Hatter's words echoed in her ears: "I never miss tea."

Yet, he had. Hatter had missed tea. After celebrating it day in and day out for who knows how many years, Hatter had missed tea. Alice would have never imagined that a missing person at teatime would cause her such alarm, but it did. Apparently she was not the only one thus affected: there was a general malaise at the table that hung over everyone except for Mally, who seemed boisterously happy for some unknown reason. Alice was happy enough for the uncomfortable teatime to be over, but instead of heading back to her to her chambers to curl up in a ball and try to forget the world, she came to the first Grownup decision she had made in a couple of days.

She would visit the Hatter.

Alice came to his chambers and was about to knock, when the knob spoke up, "You don't want to go in there."

"Why not?" Alice asked it.

She received her answer, however, not from the knob, but from a crashing bang from the other side of the door.

"It's a wreck," the knob warned, as she wrapped her hand around the knob. "He's a wreck. Totally mad. You best not go in there," it continued, even as she turned it and pulled the door open.

A half finished hat arched through the air in front of her, as she entered the room. The discarded hat joined an assortment of unfinished boaters, bonnets, caps, cloches, sunhats, and top hats. Her eyes lit on the Hatter, hunched over a table furiously engaged in his trade.

"Hatter," she stated firmly, and his head jerked up.

She noted that his eyes were bright orange and they were shaded by black circles that looked every bit like bruised black eyes. The knob had not lied.

"Go away, Alice," he said, violently shoving several pieces of silk off of the table. When she failed to move, he raised his voice: "Gae away, Alice!"

Alice placed her hands on her hips, scolding him, "You can't yell at me, Tarrant."

He laughed manically, "Ah can dae whitever ah please."

His eyes swirled, going muddy with color, as he knocked over a pincushion, sending it to the fabric and trim strewn floor. Having cleared a small space for himself, his head hit the table with a thud and remained pressed to the wood.

She hurried forward, concerned he had hurt himself. "Hatter?" she whispered.

He did not immediately respond, so she reached out to stroke his hand, which was draped haplessly over a pair of shears. His hand trembled beneath her light touch.

"Ye should nae touch me," he growled.

"I'm not afraid of you. I want to help you."

"Ah dinna want tae hurt ye. Or dae something we would baeth regret. Please," he begged, speaking into the table.

"I know you would never hurt me," Alice insisted, continuing to stroke his hand.

The Hatter raised his head a couple of inches before letting his head crash back down onto the unforgiving surface of the table.

"Hatter!" she shouted. "What are you doing?"

"Trying nae tae hurt ye!" he said, knocking his head into the table once more.

"You must stop this," Alice pleaded, feeling desperate.

Abruptly, the Hatter pushed away from the table, knocking over his chair in the process. He grabbed up the shears and drove them point down into the tabletop, leaving them standing upright. The violence of his quick actions startled Alice, and she stumbled two steps back. She could see a lump already beginning to form on his forehead.

"You are leaving even though you said you would not. But you are—you are leaving me. You were always planning on leaving. But why would you want to stay? What would make you stay? Nothing. There is nothing worth your while here. No one as good as you. As smart or kind or curious or…"

"Tarrant!" she shouted.

He shook his head, and she could tell he was trying to clear his mind. His hands fisted in his hair, knocking his hat off kilter. Saying his name was normally enough to call him from the madness, but not today, not in this moment.

"Here comes a candle to light you to bed, and here comes a chopper to chop off your head!" he gritted out before forcing a barked laugh, as he tugged on his hair.[1]

"You won't frighten me away. I'm not leaving, so you might as well come to your senses."

"Senses," he shouted angrily, "ah hivna gat any!"

"Tarrant," she tried again, more softly.

His chest heaved, breathing heavily as his hands fell to his sides.

"I should not have told you that I would stay. It's entirely my fault that you are upset, and I'm sorry for it. In the moment I wanted to stay, so I spoke without careful thought. But, I have to go home, Hatter, dear," she said, her voice pleading with him to understand through the haze of madness.

His eyes shifted from orange to yellow several times.

"Whit for?" he demanded.

It seemed cruel to tell him the real reason—her family. For what family did he have? They were all dead.

"I walked through a looking glass, because I saw you there, Tarrant," she explained, taking a tentative step towards him.

His eyes swirled once more this time with flecks of green, and she noted that his hands flexed uselessly at his side. His emotions were running wild and so was her pulse: she felt as if she was admitting to Something, but she was not sure what exactly that Something was.

"I didn't know it was you, but I couldn't look away. You were right there in the looking glass in my bedchamber."

His eyes briefly turned blue and he twisted away.

"I stepped right through and came looking for the lovely little creatures I had seen at the miniature table. I came for you, Hatter…even if I didn't know it at the time. I left the world Above without a second thought, but I left people behind as well, people that will worry about me if I don't go back. You understand that, don't you?" she pleaded.

"A willna escort ye. Ah dinna care whit th' Queen says," he responded, his voice rising slowly. He began to frantically pace, trampling bolts of fabric. "If ye knaw whit's good fur ye, ye will lea me, Alice."

She closed the distance between them with several quick steps and reached up to take his face in her hands. His cheeks were flushed and she could feel the warmth beneath his skin.

"It would seem that we neither of us can be adults at the same time, Hatter, dear," she said, running her thumbs over his high cheekbones. He was not making eye contact with her and she was not sure that he had heard what she said, although it seemed as if his eyes were trained on her lips. A muscle below his left eye twitched under her gentle ministrations and she tenderly shushed him the way one does a petulant child. "Come, you will displease the Queen with your refusal to accept her summons to be my escort. I know you do not wish to displease the Queen."

His gaze still seemed trained on her lips, when he huskily responded, "Ah canna tell ye whit ah wish."

Alice frowned: "You fought too hard for the Queen, for the resistance…"

"Forgit th' queen," he interrupted her. "Whit dae ye want, Alice? Ye want me tae escort ye yadder tae th' Chamber o' Mirrors?" he asked, his voice softening even though his brogue remained and his eyes still stormed.[2]

"There is no one else I would rather be with," she confessed.

She felt him lean into her touch briefly before stepping away from her and smoothing his shaking hands over his waistcoat.

"Ah have tae have time tae collect mah wits."

"Take all the Time you need. I will speak to the Queen."

"Alice," he called to her as she began to leave the room.


"I'm sorry," he lisped.

"So am I."

[1] The "Oranges and Lemons" is a song from a children's singing game, where the players in pairs file through an arch made by two of the players. The challenge comes at the end:

"Here comes a candle to light you to bed.

Here comes a chopper to chop off your head."

The children forming the arch drop their arms and catch a pair of children, who are "out" and must form an arch next to the original one. The series of arches becomes an increasingly long tunnel that each set of two players have to run faster through to escape. The earliest printed version appeared in Tommy Thumb's Pretty Song Book (c. 1744). Of course, the chopping off of heads would be something the Hatter is particularly prone to having violent fits over.

[2] yadder - far away

I Love My Love

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by justadram

Part 6 of 22

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