She couldn't remember how she came, but here she was. In the midle of nowhere, looking at a giant table on wich stood hundreds of cups and dozens of kettles. Smoke coming out in every single place, growing in white volutes. The aroma was so strong that she could taste the air.
Every single thing she saw was unusual or at least unexpected.

But she didn't come for the vue, she came for him. And there he was, on his right side stood the March Hare, but something was wrong. The Hare was quiet, too quiet. In fact, the both of them were weirdly quiet. The Hare was obviously worried but that was nothing compared to his concentration.

His giant purple hat was in perfect balance on his head, what by the way was realy weird because the weight didn't seemed to be rightly arranged. The rest of his clothes were as exentric as his hat. Everything was out of proportions. Everything was always out of proportions with the Mad Hatter.

"Hi"said Alice next to his hear.

That obviously scared and surprised him because he almost fell.

"Who are you and what do you want? Be warned, I have got a butter knife and I know how to use it!"

Then the March Hare added "True! He does know! Look at these toasts! They are almost perfect!"

Before they went too far, Alice said "Calm down Mister Hatter. It's just me."

The Hare took an isane pose before he answered "Technicaly, you have to be right whoever you are..."

Then the Hatter pushed him away with disturbing violence and said "Look! It's Alice! How on Water are you here dear child? We just saw you leaving!"

Some years ago he would have managed to confuse her, but she got used to the Hatter's strange notion of time.

"That was two weeks ago Mr Hatter..."

But the Hare didn't let her finish her sentence.

"Impossible! It's still tea time!" he said showing her his tea cup.
"That reminds me! Do you want some tea? Maybe one or two crackers?" he added holding his watch in front of her nose.

"Sure!" she answered "But..."

"No time!" the Mad Hatter said.
"We are doing important things and we don't need silly girls to disturb us!"

Alice's cheeks turned to red.
"How dare you?"

"Don't take it personaly!" he quickly added.
"It's not only for you. That's true for all the silly girls"

The words would have hurt her if he hadn't said it with such a kind voice. After all these years he still drived her mad sometimes. She sighed.

"And what are you doing Mr Hatter?"

"I am glad you asked sweet heart!"

"He sure is!" said the March Hare nodding solemnly.

"Listen child!" and he came closer to her.
He looked to his right, then to his left, then again to the left and finaly under his cup of tea.
"I am about about to claim a great discovery!"

"The greatest one!" said the March Hare looking at the sky and shaking his finger in front of a tree.

"And the best part is that it's one of mines!"

"Stop it! You are making me sob!" the March Hare told him while he was taking a hankerchief from his left pocket.

Alice smiled.
"And what would it be?"

The Hatter smiled back.
"Well darling, you do know that when you are making tea, you throw tea leaves in boiling water right?"

Men and their teas!
What else could she hope from a man stuck at 16:20?
She smiled gently and then accepting to play assumed a pedantic stance.
"Of course! It's a well-known fact!"

"Of course!" cried the March Hare.
"We all knew that!" he added.

"Right! Right!" answered the Mad Hatter with such an abrupt move that his head sinked into his hat. He looked hilarious when he keeped talking to Alice.
"But I thought of a new way for cooking tea! You see..."
At that moment he finaly took the hat away.

"But the best way might be to show you..."

"Definitly!" said the Marche Hare who was still looking at the sky.

Alice couldn't resist and smiled.
"If you think so..."

The Hatter nodded.
"You should go a steep away. It's the first time I'll try... And take my hat sugar."

The Hare turned his head so quickly that he almost broke his neck.
"Two please!"

The Mad Hatter looked upset.
"I wasn't talking to you!"
He looked back to Alice and said "But you sweet heart? How many?"

Alice was confused.
"I don't know... three I guess..."

"Sugar! Sugar!" the Mad Hatter yelled to the March Hare who was still indignant but brought him the sugar pot.

"There! Here they are!" the Hatter said puting the pieces in Alice's hands.
"Back to work now!"

The March Hare ran to the other side of the table and went to hide behind a tree.
"I am ready!"

"Here we go!" screamed the Mad Hatter.
Then he took tea leaves and put them into a kettle.
"Be ready! That's the crucial part!"
He took an other kettle from wich vapor was pouring out and threw the bowling water from it to the first kettle.

Soon, the tea's sweet aroma reached Alice's nose.
"So... what's next step? " she asked.

"What next step?" said the Mad Hatter.
"It worked! We just made tea! Well, I did anyway."

"And what a tea! It's just amazing!" added the March Hare.

"But there is nothing new about your technique!" protested Alice.

"What? Are you blind? I threw the boiling water on the leaves instead of throwing the leaves in the boiling water! It's completly diferent!" he said.

"In fact he did the very oposite..." confided the Hare taking a cup of tea.

"But it's the same thing!" Alice said.

"Try to be smart once in your life!" the Hatter said.

"Yeah! At least try!" completed the Hare.

The Mad Hatter kept talking.
"Throwing people in pools is not the same thing that throwing pools in people!"

"And to put ink in a paper is very diferent of to put a paper in the ink!" the March hare said.

The both had talked so rudely that Alice started to cry.

The mad Hatter imediatly stopped yelling and punched the March Hare in the gut to make him stop too.
"What's the matter sweet heart? he asked kindly.

Alice keeped crying and sobing on his shoulder.
"I am... sorry..."

The Hatter's face was realy worried and the March Hare assumed the very same expression as he always did.
"Dear child, you know how we are... It's our nature... You know we didn't mean it!"

But Alice was still crying.
"I-I know... it's just... things are not going well home... my parents are always fighting..."

The Hatter hugged her softly.
"And you came to us? Oh... darling... you are so cute when you are stupid..."

She looked at him and he smiled to her. She laughed a bit, drying the tears on her cheeks.
"I was silly I guess... but you both are my only real friends..."

The Hatter caressed her head.
"Poor child! A sweet girl like you deserves better than two crazy men as friends!"

Alice denied.
"Don't say that! I love you both!"
After a while she added "Can I stay here tonight?"

The Hatter smiled maliciously.
"Well... technicaly it's still 16:20, but we can always take a nap..."