Alice's Fight For Hatter
After an hour, Alice, Hatter, Charlie, and the rest of the group finally made it to Charlie's home in the ruins of the old palace. Alice helped Hatter to sit down on the bed and stayed with him, while Charlie and Ten of Clubs worked on saddling Guinevere and the other horses.
Alice watched Hatter as he closed his eyes, struggling through another wave of pain that spread throughout his body. After a few minutes, he looked over at Alice and put a smile back on his face in hopes of cheering her up. He knew it had worked as she laughed and then leaned over to kiss him gently on his forehead.
"I knew that I could make you smile," Hatter said. "It's a better look for you than the one that you've been wearing for the last few days. I am sorry that I forced you to come back to my world again, Alice."
"Don't be sorry, Hatter," Alice replied. "You didn't drag me here. I came on my own because I wasn't about to lose you."
Hatter lowered his head and responded, "I was hoping to bring you back to Wonderland one day when it is back to what it once was years ago. For a honeymoon I mean. I would never make you live in a place like this. Besides, I am happy in your world."
Alice placed her hands on his and asked, "Honeymoon, do you mean that you were planning on proposing to me?"
"I…well I meant to do it right," Hatter answered as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small box. "I wanted it to be romantic for you like you oysters usually do it, but I… I suppose that I am not doing this very well at all. I have this ring for you. It isn't anything like the Stone of Wonderland, but I…"
"Hatter, this is the ring my dad gave to my mom when he proposed to her," Alice cried. "How did you get this?"
"I talked to her about asking you to marry me last night, well… the night before all this happened," he responded. "She was thrilled when I told her and knew that I didn't have the money for a ring. She told me how much you loved her ring and gave it to me to give to you. Will you be my wife, Alice Hamilton?"
Alice cried softly as she slipped the ring on her finger and answered him with a kiss on the lips, "Of course I will marry you, Hatter. Or should I say, David. After all, I will become Mrs. David Hatter. Once we get back home, we will have a small wedding. Mom will be ecstatic!"
Hatter leaned over and kissed her back until Charlie walked over and interrupted by saying, "Forgive me, Just Alice and Harbinger. I came over to inform you that the horses are ready. Guinevere is happy to be of service to you both once again. I hope that I haven't interrupted anything important, have I?"
"Actually, you have," Hatter replied as he slowly stood. "But, we need to get going anyway, so thank you, Charlie."
"Allow me to help you on your horse, Sir," Ten of Clubs spoke up saying.
Hatter groaned, but allowed the man to help him anyway because he knew that he wouldn't be able to get up on the horse on his own. He didn't want to admit it to anyone, especially to Alice, but he was becoming weaker and in a lot more pain. His shoulder felt like it was on fire, just as it had when the arrow first struck him. He wanted nothing more than to beat Dodo to a pulp for what he has done.
Hatter feared that he might not get the chance to marry Alice and knew that if he died, Alice would be devastated. Letting him in her life took a lot of courage. Chances were that if he died, she would end up an old maid and he did not want that for her. She deserved to be happy and so did he.
Alice climbed up on Guinevere behind Hatter and put her arms around him. This time, she was happy to get close and allow him to take on all the weight as he had once offered her before. She couldn't help but laugh at the memory. He had said it in hopes of lightening the mood. It didn't really work then, but the memory did now.
However, the smile quickly faded as she could feel the tremors shake throughout his slim build. She knew that he was hiding the pain he felt from her, as well as his fear. It was how he was. Hatter could read her like a book and the more that she got to know him, the more she was able to read him too. He pushed his own feelings aside in order to take care of her.
She and Hatter remained silent as they listened to Charlie singing the same song as he always sang and Ten of Clubs ramble on and on with the other suits about this and that. The forest was beautiful this time of year, now that Wonderland was a more peaceful and beautiful place.
As Hatter had said earlier, Wonderlanders still had much work ahead of them before it would be the Wonderland it once was so long ago. The Queen of Hearts really put it in ruins during her long reign.
Guinevere trotted up beside Charlie and his horse as Alice asked him, "So Charlie, what happened to Jack's mother? We overthrew her and Jack had her arrested, but what has happened to her since then?"
Charlie looked over at her and replied, "His Majesty offered to give her work as a maid and seamstress, but she refused any kind of help from him. Instead, she is still imprisoned in the tower where she is treated quite well, despite the pain she has caused everyone here in Wonderland."
"I can understand why Jack can't give to her what she deserves," Alice said. "If she were my mother, I couldn't do it either. At least she is in prison. So, Jack married the Duchess. How long ago was that?"
"A large wedding and celebration took place about a week after you left to go home to your world," Charlie answered. "They have been married for years now and are both very happy."
Alice looked at Hatter and smiled as she responded, "I am glad."
Charlie watched as Hatter turned to smile at her and smiled himself as he asked, "It appears that another wedding is going to be taking place very soon. Am I right?"
"I just asked her a few minutes ago, Charlie," Hatter replied. "How did you know that?"
"Despite my age, I am certainly not blind either," he answered. "You followed after her when she left to go home. The two of you have a love as deep as that of your world's Romeo and Juliet. I saw it from the first day we met and your love is whispered in the heavens among the stars. I can also see the ring on her finger."
"Romeo and Juliet ended in tragedy, Charlie," Alice said sadly. "Earlier, you said that we would end up happy. Are you saying that you don't believe that anymore?"
Charlie stopped his horse and turned to face Alice and Hatter as he responded, "On the contrary. I only meant to say that your story will be the greatest love story of all time here in Wonderland, as that of Romeo and Juliet's is in yours. And it will end happily."
Hatter looked again at Alice and then back at Charlie as he replied, "Thank you, Charlie! You have no idea how much it means for us to hear you say that."
"It is my pleasure!" Charlie answered as he nodded and returned to his song.