Chapter 14: Falling Up the Rabbit Hole
If it wasn't already peculiar falling down an overly large rabbit hole, it was certainly much stranger to fall up it for it felt as though Alice were descending; her hair remaining at her sides, dancing a bit in the wind. Yet at the same time, she could clearly see she was ascending as teacups, plates, cabinets, and other things were slowly traveling down or floating in midair. It was as though she were playing her falling down the rabbit hole at the age of seven in reverse.
Alice sniffled as she ascended the rabbit hole. Tears were resting just under the brim of her eyes. She tried to brush them away but only more tears came. Oh, what had she done? How could she leave? What a foolish, foolish thing she did.
"Come now, there's no use crying Alice," she told herself. But the tears would not stop flowing regardless.
After wiping her eyes yet again, Alice pitifully gazed around the rabbit hole. Alice began to wonder how long she had traveled up the rabbit hole by this time. She guessed that she must have been falling for nearly five minutes and yet the entrance to the rabbit hole was nowhere to be found. It was this type of thinking that caused Alice to feel very anxious as she continued to stare around the dark abyss. To her surprise, there was something just below. It did not take her long before she was able to see that it was none other than Milo falling past her.
"Milo? What are you doing here?" Alice questioned as he was escaping her, bumping into a teacup along the way. She watched him in utter fascination as he floated along his merry way.
"Alice!" someone called from below. Alice's heart fluttered at the sound of it. She knew that voice! Desperately gazing down, she could see Hatter was falling up towards her, grasping onto his top hat for dear life. His legs dangled about, clearly not used to falling in such a way.
"Hatter!" Alice called back when he just a few yards below her, her excitement growing as he came closer to her.
"Alice," Hatter repeated as he was coming closer to her, his eyes shining upon the sight of her as though he still could not believe she was just above him. Alice smiled as she looked down at him.
"Hatter, what are you doing here?" she could not help but to blurt out. "You'll never be able to go back home to Wonderland now!" This realization alarmed her, worried her, and, strangely, angered her. What had he been thinking? Now he was forced to live away from the March Hare, from the Dormouse. His hat shop would be left abandoned with all his odd contraptions to create the wonderful hats that decorated the citizens of Wonderland's heads. His large table and assortment of tea necessities would be gone. "You...you idiot!" Alice added as she thought all these things through, something she was sure Hatter did not contemplate. Hatter was taken aback by Alice's sudden exclamation, expecting Alice to be glad he had come with her.
"I-I don't know what I was thinking!" Hatter exclaimed, rushing to explain his actions. "One moment I'm watching you leave and the next thing I know I jumped after you! I didn't think about anything! Oh Alice, please forgive me! I'm mad, completely and utterly mad!"
Alice's anger quickly subsided upon seeing Hatter throwing his arms wildly into the air during his explanation. She giggled with delight at the sight of him. His hat floated above them before Hatter snatched it back, holding it once again on his head. Alice felt the tears coming back to her as Hatter was now directly in front of her. She threw her arms around him, holding him close.
"Oh Hatter, I'm so glad you're here. Really I am," Alice said, her grip tightening. A rush of happiness passed through her that she did not even think to apologize for her outburst: that simply did not matter anymore. What mattered was Hatter was here, here to stay with her.
Hatter, too, forgot Alice's outburst as soon as she pressed her body close to him. He in turn held her, his hat falling ahead of them.
"Alice," Hatter began, his voice soft.
"But...I'm only sorry that you have to leave Wonderland too," Alice remarked, not hearing Hatter's comment.
"Alice..." Hatter attempted to begin again, slightly louder than before.
"And the poor March Hare," Alice continued, once again not hearing him.
"Alice!" Hatter exclaimed. He was trying to tell her something very important after all!
"Yes?" Alice inquired, gazing up at him.
"Alice, what I'm leaving behind in Wonderland are just things. And while I will miss Hare and Dormy..." Hatter remarked, pausing as he realized that he would miss his friends very much. He really hadn't thought about that when jumping up the rabbit hole. But then he took one of Alice's hands and held onto it tightly, his fingers tracing her small, delicate hand as everything felt right again. "I'd rather be with you."
"Really?" was all Alice managed to say. Her heart was now racing and she felt as though she was floating rather than falling. She could feel that abnormal sensation passing through her again. And suddenly she came to a realization as to what that sensation was: love. She loved Hatter and he had chosen her over anything else. Now his own unusual and recent behavior made all the sense in the world: she had not been imagining it after all.
"You are my Wonderland," Hatter continued, allowing his nose to touch the tip of her own, "...and I love you: very much." Upon hearing those words being uttered, Alice felt her face turn red. She could feel his sweet, warm breath, becoming entranced by it: by him.
"Hatter," Alice replied softly. But that was all she managed to say before Hatter gently brushed his soft lips against her own. It felt as though her heart had completely melted upon contact. It was truly the most wonderful feeling in the world. Alice's mind turned completely lucid: the only thought running through her mind was how much she loved Hatter despite his complete and utter madness as the two became engulfed in a warm light.