A/N: I decided this is the final chapter. Sorry if you don't hear much from me for a while, but my inspiration left. I still have a ways to go about The Black Rabbit, still getting ideas all into one. Hopefully soon!
He was there, right before them, sword and all. Hatter drew a dagger from his coat pocket.
"Alice," he whispered. "Run, and whatever you do, don't look back. Go!" He shoved her away.
She ran. She heard the sound of the blades colliding. She kept running. She stopped to take a break by a tree. Then, footsteps. Alice turned around...Stayne. She ran faster, remembering suddenly her horrid dreams. She was running, but he was getting faster. Alice tried to quicken her pace, but then she tripped...on a branch (what are the chances?).
She yelled and panicked, dodging the sword as he pursued her. She got back up, running again. Stayne was right there. The sword came up...she shut her eyes. Please be a dream. Please be a dream. Please be a dream...Hatter I...
Her thoughts were disrupted by the collision of another blade. She looked up, seeing Tarrant, eyes flaming orange with the dagger in his hand. She saw he was wounded badly. The blood dripped from his left arm. Yet, there he was, defending her. Hatter poked Stayne in the eye with a pin on his coat sleeve. That gave him the second he needed to take the sword away. Hatter had him pinned (no pun intended) to the ground.
"You will leave now and you will never bother us again. I'll let you go," he said, trying to control himself, but Hatter left a deep cut in Stayne's combat arm. He couldn't help but make him pay somehow.
Stayne grabbed his sword and ran off...but not far.
Tarrant's eyes turned back to their original green color as he thought of Alice. Alice sat up on the ground, horrified. Still shaking, she called for him. He turned to her and he went over to kneel by her. Tarrant held her, no matter how much that arm hurt him...he decided long ago she was worth it. She leaned into him.
"Th-tha-that w-was my dr-dream," she quivered. "Without the fi-fighting that is."
"This is what's been troubling you?" he asked. She nodded. Just when she began to relax, Hatter regretted second guessing his decision.
Stayne was not a quitter. He ran toward them, this time, claiming the prize first time around. He seized Alice...by the neck.
"Stayne!" Hatter shouted, eyes turning back to orange. Any place but her neck, he thought. Stayne drew his sword, holding it to Alice's throat.
"Ah...o-ow...uh," she stammered. Her neck was pure pain, and it shot through her. She didn't speak anymore after that. Stayne's coarse hand choked her neck from behind, causing more pain. Her face showed it all and her eyes shut. Hatter's heart shattered as he saw her like this.
"Get the dagger out of your hands," Stayne commanded. Hatter stared at the dagger, getting an idea. But, how to get Alice to understand. Then, he looked Alice straight in the eyes. Her eyes opened slightly, and she knew he was trying to tell her something. She thought she knew what it meant. His eyes turned mad...like March. Alice got it. Just in time.
"You're late for TEA!" Tarrant shouted, and Alice ducked her head down, despite the pain. She knew that was signal. Hatter threw the dagger like March did his tea cups. The dagger pierced Stayne's throat.
"Right on the button," he whispered to himself. Stayne dropped Alice, and she fell to the ground, wincing in pain.
He claimed his victory. Stayne was lifeless now, no longer a threat to Underland. Hatter lifted Alice and carried her back to where they were before Stayne appeared. When he couldn't lift her anymore, he made sure to set her down gently. She was scared again, shaking and sobbing. Hatter embraced her once more, now for sure they were safe.
"Alice," he whispered in her ear. "It's alright. Stayne is gone. There's nothing to fear anymore...Alice." She continued to sob, trying to hold it back. She felt so weak.
"My neck..." she kept saying. Hatter knew it was hurting her, but he had no potion or any type of way to help get rid of the pain. He could only think of one solution, with the castle being so far away.
"Alice...shhhh," he tried to sooth her. She cried quietly in his arms for what felt like forever, but he didn't mind. He was the one got to hold her, and that's all that mattered to him. Tarrant examined the wound, and saw the bandage was going to leak through. He had to change it. She'd calmed down, and sat to face him. Her eyes diverted to his wounds, especially his left arm.
"Tarrant, you're hurt," she gasped. "It's all my fault."
"Nonsense," he said warmly. "Nothing's your fault...nothing. And don't you ever think it is. Now, your neck." Alice looked up at him as he carefully untied the cloth, and she saw her own blood as he washed it off in the stream. She asked him how bad it was when he first saw it.
"Far worse," he reasoned as he looked at the wound now. He filled a tea cup he had in his pocket (he always carried at least one) with the stream water and washed the bandage clean.
"It hurts to move it," she mentioned. "Certain directions." Tarrant put his own hand into the stream, and then touched the wound. It hurt, but Alice kept still and didn't fidget. the water was cold and it felt so nice as it reached her skin. He put his hand down, and ripped off a piece of his jacket and dipped it in the water. He let the rag dry on his free arm.
"Alice, I won't lie to you," he said. "This may hurt, but please don't move too drastically." He took the cloth and dabbed it on her neck. She had no response to this. Then, he wiped it across the wound, blood catching on it. She drew a quick breath, like she hadn't expected it at all. He withdrew the rag, apologizing. He did it again, knowing it had to be done for the wound not to become worse. She moved this time, vocalizing the pain a little bit louder. She came back to him, though.
"I'm sorry," he softly said. "But I hate seeing you like this...in pain." She leaned back against him, his voice drawing her near.
"Keep going," she said finally. Hatter wiped it again, and put the cloth into the water. She became uneasy after he'd done it a few more times. The blood wouldn't stop, and he saw a little more dirt in the side yet. Tarrant wrapped his free arm around her waist, and she sighed, more content. With the bandage dry, he carefully sat her up. He rewrapped it around her neck perfectly, gently. She looked at his arm.
"My turn," she said, reaching for a piece of clothing in her dress.
"No, Alice, you don't have to..." he started, but she interrupted.
"I want to," she said. He laid still as she washed out his wound. She was skilled at it, and she hardly hurt him. She wrapped the cloth around his arm.
"You wanted to?" he repeated her words in question.
"Yes," she said confidently. Then, she got nervous. "There's something I've been meaning to tell you."
Hatter looked her in the eyes, which only made her more nervous and look away. He thought he'd done something wrong. She stood up and he followed.
"Alice," he said, hugging her from behind to prevent her from walking away. "I have something to tell you too." He let her go but she turned back to him.
"I don't know if you know this...but I..." she started.
"Hmmm?" he asked, reaching up, putting his hand on her neck.
"I... have truly fallen deeply, hard, and madly...in love with you," she finished. Tarrant, after hearing her final words, put both arms around her waist again. He pressed his lips to hers. Then, he came down to her neck, kissing the wound gently. Alice sighed as he did this. She wouldn't let anyone else touch that place but Hatter. Alice loved Tarrant. The way he held her made her feel...safe.
"Alice," he whispered. "I won't let anyone or anything hurt you, I promise you that. I hate seeing you in this much pain, and I don't want to be the cause of it ever. Alice, I have been in love with you since the day you walked out to the chessboard in the champion's armor." She was left speechless by his words even though he was rambling. He kissed her again. This time, more passionately. She closed her eyes and put her arms around his neck. He pulled her closer. This made her head jerk along with her neck, and she withdrew instantly, putting her head on his shoulder. He lifted her up and sat on the grass with her close at his side.
"Sorry," he said, and he pushed her carefully so she lay on the grass. He came over her and he kissed her neck again. They lay there, Hatter on top of Alice.
"Hatter, why are you doing this?" she asked. He looked up from kissing her.
"You don't want to hurt your neck, I don't want to cause you any pain, but Alice...right now, we are alone and I want to show you how much you mean to me," he said with a hint of that Scottish accent that she loved.
He kissed her again, moving his hands to her waist. He moved to her neck, where he slightly pressed his lips. Her wounds were there. Then he trailed as far down her body until the dress covered her. Alice sighed deeply, seeing how perfect the moment was. Tarrant came back up to her neck and back to her mouth. He tasted of vanilla tea. She held her arms around him, wanting to be closer to him. Hatter brought his hands up, and he began unbuttoning her dress. The dress didn't come off, for Tarrant didn't want to go too far with her, afraid for her neck injury. But, he wanted to finally release the passion he had for Alice. She let go of him, and he kissed her between her breasts. Alice moaned until Hatter found her lips again. March's words rang through her ears as Tarrant continued to indulge her: He loves ye more than anythin'...trust me... he'll do anythin' for you. He was right. Tarrant stopped kissing her for a few moments. They looked in each other's eyes.
"I thought I was dreaming this morning," he said warmly.
"You thought wrong," she replied, pulling him down for another kiss.
"Please, stay," he whispered, begging her. "I couldn't take it if I saw you disappear before my eyes again...I love you too much."
"I intend on staying," she said. "Now, I know for certain and I have to stay. If you'll have me..."
"Yes," he whispered before she got the chance to finish. He kissed her again, unable to resist.
"I love you, Tarrant," she said with passion in her voice when he pulled away. Finally, she could mean it to someone, even if he was mad. After all, all the best people are.
Plz review. Fairfarren for now! ~White Shade