Alice likes Hatter.

She likes his blinding grin, and that absolutely devastating dimple on his left cheek. She likes the sparkle in his warm dark eyes. She likes that his expressions are completely mobile, and even his blank, serious, hiding-my-thoughts look is still an expression she can read. She likes that Hatter's thoughts and emotions are never halfway, but she also likes that they're as changeable as the wind, and one minute of seriousness will be blown away by ten minutes of goofy joy at the drop of a hat … pun intended.

She likes his humor and his charm, and the edge of danger that he still carries with him, even though he's 'gone legit' in her world. She likes that hint of bad-boy in him, even though she knows it's basically false, and that Hatter is completely trustworthy, and a complete sweetheart under that slightly-criminal exterior.

Alice likes Hatter's style. She's always liked more sedate guys before, but she really enjoys Hatter's unique look, sort of retro and alternative and completely chaotic all at once. She likes that it's all his own.

She likes the shape of Hatter. She likes his lean wiry body, tapered torso, and narrow hips. She likes the light scattering of dark hair across his chest, and she especially likes the dark 'treasure trail' leading downwards from his navel. She likes how the heat of him radiates off his skin, so on a cool night she can cuddle up to him and absorb his warmth. She likes the silkiness of his skin over his muscles, and she even likes the scars, particularly the round burn ones on his chest and stomach, because he acquired them on her behalf. She likes that he shrugs them off, not because he's pretending it didn't happen, but because he thinks they're not important in the grand scheme of things.

Alice particularly likes that Hatter doesn't believe in underwear, and so is always 'commando'. She likes that she can get his complete attention with just a breath in his ear. She likes that he gives her his complete attention when they make love. She likes cataloging all the reactions she can get from him when she explores his body in bed.

She likes his pride in her, how he treats her like the most wonderful thing in the world, and makes everyone agree with that assessment. She really liked overhearing him tell a snotty karate student that not only did he admire Alice's fighting skills, he found them "terribly sexy". She likes that he strikes exactly the right balance between being protective of her and letting her lead the way.

She likes that many people, her mother included, shake their heads over the two of them, and don't seem to understand how they make their relationship work, and she likes that it's impossible to explain, because you have to experience another world before you can start to understand Hatter at all, and Alice likes that she's lucky enough to have done it.

But more than anything else, Alice likes that she loves him, and that he loves her, both of them madly involved with one another. She likes waking up next to him in the middle of the night, and letting him make breakfast, and meeting him for lunch, and cooking dinner together. She likes living her days knowing he's there. She likes knowing that Hatter has always followed her, even when he didn't agree with her path, and he's always come after her, even when she left him behind. She likes that the first man in her life to prove utterly reliable is the least likely man in any universe one would expect to be reliable. She likes that he has her back, and she likes that she has his. Alice really likes "Alice and Hatter", and she likes that that's where the story begins and ends.