Holding up the ring in triumph, Alice could have laughed at the roar of approval coming up around her, at the heroes’ victory,
at the fact that many of the Oysters (and when had she started using Wonderland terminology?) probably had no idea what the ring was.
But she didn’t laugh, because she knew the cost, and she didn’t know the future. Just right now, though, that didn’t bother her, and she turned her head to smile at Hatter.
It was a smile of comrades, a smile that said
And maybe even,
Hatter smiled back at her, and did one of his hat tricks, and this time Alice didn’t pointedly not watch,
because before she hadn’t wanted to admit that it was impressive and he was clever and she always wanted to watch him, but now, well, now…
Alice took a few steps towards Hatter and they slid into a hug as natural as sunshine.
Hatter sighed into it and they lingered, because now they had time, and he said “That feels good” again, but then he couldn’t stop himself from a small cough and a bigger wince,
and Alice drew back in alarm.
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