ALICE PART 3!

We have here the third installment to my Alice in Wonderland series. You're welcome to start reading here, but you might be a little lost if you have not read the first 2 parts. Wonderland's Void: The Return Call and Wonderland's Void: Spirit Week. Please read those first if you haven't, I promise, you'll enjoy it.

So…it's taken me…9…10…months to get this out…what can I say…sorry? I meant to have it out by last New Year's and um….it didn't happen. Frankly, people stopped nagging me for it so I didn't get written…Nagging really does help. For future reference. ….and all that.

Disclaimer: I DO NOT own Alice in Wonderland in any shape way or form. Just this plot and my twisty twisting of characters. Also, there's a number of things in here…Christmas songs…movies…movie quotes…I obviously don't own those either. So woot. Read on.


December 20th

Alice sat on the floor of her room. Well, it was technically her room; it was just the one that was in Wonderland. In Spade Castle to be more precise. It was the pretty lavender room that was just for her, rather then the suite she shared with Spade on some occasions. The last thing she wanted was to get in anyone's way but being Queen came with perks.

She'd been there for hours; wrapping present after present and now her back was starting to hurt from the angle she sat. Across from her on the floor was Golden Mary, her curls pinned back to keep them out of the way. She'd found Alice almost instantly and insisted she be the one to help Alice with whatever her task was. Being Alice's personal servant was her job after all and Alice gave her very little to do.

"I don't even get a greeting anymore?" Spade chuckled after peeking inside the room. He looked as ravishing as always. His hair was pulled back today showing off his face accenting his many ear piercings and showing off his strange—though natural—blond/gray hair color. Though as always, it was those stormy blue eyes that got her every time.

"No! Out!" Alice grinned quickly, looking around the mound of boxes she had around her. "Oh, never mind. I wrapped yours already. You can come in."

Spade blinked, giving her a perplexed look as he entered. "I thought you would be at school this time of day, but you're here instead. Should you be here instead? Not that I'm not pleased. I was hoping you would come today anyway for at least a moment, but what are you doing?"

"Wrapping!" Golden Mary cheered, holding up a box she'd wrapped perfectly. Even the pattern on the wrapping paper matched and pieced together. "This is so much fun!"

"Wrapping? Wrapping what?" Spade asked.

"Wrapping party!" Most High yelled, pushing Spade into the room and following behind. The always energetic Queen of Clubs grinned at the sight before her. The boxes, brightly color papers and ribbons had caught her attention. Her short hair was highlighted several different colors and she wore the cloak she usually did that matched her strange attire. She was nearly bouncing with excitement.

"What is she doing here?" Alice laughed as Most High slumped down beside her.

Spade shook his head and chuckled. "Recovery work for the Kingdoms is still taking some time. Just a short meeting but seems she'd rather hang out with you."

"I had to leave Little One in his naked room but he's pouting about something anyway." Most High chuckled, picking up a spool of ribbon and examining it thoroughly.

"Who's this one for?" Golden Mary asked, showing the box to Alice.

"You can just write Bubbles on that one," Alice said.

"From Alice?" She asked, pulling out a new sheet of paper.

Alice nodded, leaning back for a moment in hopes that it would straighten out her back. "Yeep. Ow."

"Are you alright?" Spade asked, pulling her up as Most High, went through the pack of wrapping materials Alice had brought with her. "Hurt?"

She shook her head. "Just stiff from sitting here. This would have taken a lot longer had Golden Mary not come to help me. Back hurts. I should not have run this morning."

"Alice, you're weird." Most High said, as if she were the normal one. "Why are you wrapping boxes?"

"The boxes have stuff in them, Most High." Alice chuckled. "That's the surprise. There's something in the box and you don't know what it is. They're presents."

Most High raised an eye. "Presents?"

"For Christmas." Alice nodded, getting a sea of blank looks in return. "It's a holiday. You get presents for your friends and loved ones to celebrate giving and kindness and that sort of stuff. It's a time where you're supposed to be grateful for what you have and you think of the less fortunate and you spread that holiday cheer. You open the gifts on Christmas."

"Most High wants gifts." The Club Queen said.

"That's why you're writing names on them. A simple way to keep things from getting to complex where simple is best." Spade mused, sitting behind Alice and rubbing his fingers down her spine until she slumped back against him.

"Yes, and that feels great, thank you." Alice purred.

"This one says Spade!" Most High announced, picking out his box from the wrapped pile. "Here, here, here!"

"No!" Alice laughed. "It's not Christmas yet!"

Most High looked at her, dropping the box back where she'd gotten it from. "Poop."

"Hm." Spade smiled, kissing Alice's shoulder. "You got me a present?"

Alice stuck her tongue out at him. "You will wait like everyone else."

Spade laughed, it was that very sound that made her shiver and smile. His arms wrapped around her tightly. "But now you've got me curious, Alice. Curious indeed."

"Tough." she said, leaning into him. "In my family we get to open one gift on Christmas Eve and the rest are for Christmas morning. You can wait like the rest of us."

"How cruel." Spade muttered, looking like a small boy, eager to rip into his gifts. It made her wonder if Wonderland had any similar holidays or if this was new to him. "Are you sure I can't convince you?" He purred.

She grinned. "I'm sure you could try very hard, but nope. You will wait. I'm not done shopping yet."

He raised an eye, looking from the pile of wrapped presents to the pile of unwrapped presents. "You must know a lot of people."

"Nah, not so much. These here are for my mom; these are for my dad. These are for my mom, from my dad." she pointed to each little pile. "I kinda of end up wrapping everyone's presents but my own. That and my mother and I have a bad habit of starting our Christmas shopping months early. This is just the stuff we've bought one at a time through out the year. I know it's getting late but I haven't done much shopping yet."

"This holiday helps bring people together?" Spade asked.

"Yeah. It does." Alice smiled at him. "It's that time of year where everyone gathers around for the holiday and there's dinner and breakfast in my family and well, to be honest it's a little bit of a pain but it's fun too. There's decorating and cookies and I think you'll like it. Admittedly, my gramma wants to meet you. Apparently my mom thinks your hot stuff and talks about you all the time."

"Really?" Spade asked, looking surprised and delighted all at once. Winning her mother over hadn't been a test to him at all, her father was another matter entirely but he was coming around. "I'm invited to Christmas?"

"Sure. Though it's not just one day. I'll keep decorating tomorrow probably and I think my grandparents arrive. They'll stay a couple of days and go home before New Years." Alice said. "How's your schedule looking for tomorrow?"

Spade kissed her jaw and his arms tightened around her. "A hundred percent free for you, dear love."

"Oh, playing the dependable husband." Alice teased.

"I'm very good at it." He muttered against her lips before looking up at Golden Mary's squeal of delight. "What in the world are you two doing?"

"Crap." Alice muttered, staring at the two she had taken her eyes off of for too long. "Now I gotta buy more paper."

Most High was laying on the floor, looking very much like a caterpillar. Golden Mary had rolled the Queen of Clubs up and wrapped her like a present with only her face showing.

"I have cocooned myself. When I emerge, I will be...Super Queen." Most High said, laughing energetically and rolling around on the floor which was all she could actually do at the moment.

The room was silent as the three remaining occupants watched the Club Queen roll around and laugh in bright red and green Christmas tree paper.

"I'll buy you more paper." Spade mused after a considerable pause. A smile crossed his lips, "And I'll have to make it up to you for allowing there to be a delay in your wrapping."

Alice grinned. "Wanna help me decorate the tree? I need that done before I can put the presents under it anyway."

Spade reached up to feel her forehead. "Are you sure you're alright? You're speaking more nonsense then I'm used to hearing from you. Perhaps the others have been bothering you too much. Did they make you leave school early again?"

She laughed again. "I know it sounds strange but decorating a tree and putting the presents under it is a Christmas tradition, and I'm on break until after New Years. No school."

The words 'no school' seemed to perk him up considerably. "You've free time? No school or practice?"

"Nope." Alice said with a confirming nod. "Free time for Spade. It'll be a little hectic before Christmas but better afterwards before New Years. I'll let you take me out on a date."

He reached up to cup her face. "That sounds very promising. I'll look forward to that."

"Out of the way!" Most High demanded, ramming into their sides, still all wrapped up. "You're in the way! The way I say!"

Spade and Alice both climbed over her and she continued on, rolling around the room, followed only by her laughter.

"You'd think I'd be used to stuff like that by now." Alice commented.

"One would, but Wonderland is a tiring place." Spade chuckled. "Most High, dear, you realize you won't be able to get out of the room like that."

The Club Queen paused. "You have no faith in me at all." She said, and continued rolling around the room.

"Do you mind if I keep these gifts in here for a while. I'm afraid they'll get discovered and opened before Christmas if I take them home with me now."

"Of course." Spade agreed. "This is your room after all. You're free to put anything in here you like. You know that. Though now I am curious, what happens if you open a gift before Christmas?"

Alice smiled. "Nothing, but I like traditions. We don't have many in my family and it's really the only time we're all together. That's enough for us though. We don't do super well together. It's nice to hold onto those things."

"It must be." Spade mused. "I see, dear love. I will do my best to help you with your traditions, even decorating a tree."

She laughed quietly, "I'll explain more about Christmas to you later."

"Your Majesty." Golden Mary smiled. "I like this holiday very much. May we celebrate it here? I'm sure the others would be perfectly delighted with it!"

Spade looked thoughtful, "Alright. If everyone is in favor of the idea then I don't see why not. If we have any questions we could always ask Alice."

"Christ! Mas!" Most High yelled loudly, ignoring Golden Mary and she jumped up and skipped from the room. "We shall sing and dance!"

"There are Christmas songs and movies." Alice mused, watching as Most High stopped her rolling and stared. On numerous occasions Alice and brought movies to the Club Queen and she adored them. Christmas movies seemed to momentarily overwhelm her.

"You bring?" Most High stared.

Alice nodded. "Sure, I can bring some."

"YES!" Most High cheered, her arms and legs tearing through the paper she was wrapped up with in excitement. "Super Queen is excited."

"I don't think you've full emerged yet." Spade observed, still gently rubbing Alice's back. She was slumped back against him, unable to move even if she wanted to.

"Who asked you? My awesomeness is not restricted in such a way." Most High said, attempting to pull herself up off the floor. The attempt was unsuccessful as she slid back down the floor. With an apparent shrug she just continued to roll around the floor with a laugh.

Alice looked up at Spade, "I really think she's gonna embrace Christmas like few are able too. I can't decide on whether or not that's a good or bad thing."

"Time will certainly tell." Spade mused. "Do you have many things left to wrap here?"

"Just this little one here, and I'm pretty sure I should have enough paper for it." Alice said after a quick look.

Spade studied the mountain of presents and watched over her shoulder as she wrapped the last box. When she'd finished he ran his thumbs up her spine and she sighed heavily, leaning back against him. She'd gotten stiff after the first few and was ready to stretch out for a nap.

"I'm dizzy." Most High muttered, seemingly stuck in the position she had stopped rolling in. "So dizzy."

Alice just looked up at her, not as concerned with her. "Yeah, I'll bet."

"Alice! Alice!" March was calling before evening bursting into the room. He dove down on the floor behind Alice and Spade and wrapped his arm around one of her legs. "They're chasing me!"

"What?" she muttered, looking down at the mane of peach blond hair that was using her for a shield. He'd once again had a few strands of it braided.

"What are you doing?" Spade asked the second Hatter and White nearly fell into the room. He didn't even bother to look up at them. "Why are you being mean to March?"

"What? Never!" Hatter said indignantly, tipping his top hat back. The master of tea ceremonies and full time klepto seemed ready to defend himself. Like Spade, his ears were pierced dozens of times but his dark hair and tattered clothes, unnecessarily connected with safety pins set him apart.

White scoffed, brushing back his platinum blond hair. "He's the one being especially mean today, and hiding behind her Highness is low."

"I didn't do anything." March pouted, looking up at Alice with his innocent eyes. If affected her about half the time but this was one of the times she remembered that he wasn't as innocent as he appeared to be.

"And what did you not do?" Alice asked.

March smiled a little. "Nothing."

White pouted and crossed his arms over his chest. It was a rare sight to see him acting the most childish out of the three of them. "He has a box with my name on it. I want it."

"What?" Alice asked, staring down at March who held onto one of the boxes that Golden Mary had wrapped. "Sorry White, it's mine till the twenty-fifth. Hand it over, March."

"How come White gets his name on a box." The March Hare whined, giving the box back to Alice where she then placed it back in the pile.

"March." Spade shook his head to silence him. "Enough."

"You'll all get one on Christmas." Alice shook her head. "Don't whine at me, none of you are kids."

"I think Most High is dead." Hatter muttered, nudging her with his foot. "What did you two do to her."

Spade shook his head, looking amused again. "She did that to herself. I guess she wanted to be her own present."

"You can unwrap her now. Let Super Queen emerge." Alice said, leaning forward to pick up the scraps of paper that hadn't made it throughout the wrapping.

Hatter sat next to Most High and sipped from a full, steamy hot teacup he'd pulled out from his top hat. "Interesting."

"Why do you have a box with my name on it?" White asked, crouching down next to Spade. "Does that make it mine?"

"It's for Christmas, White. It's a Holiday in Alice's world." Spade said. "I think we may participate."

The White Rabbit stared, a brow elevated in confusion. "Is that what Goldy was talking about? She brought the box to show us and March nicked it."

"So I get why you were after it." Alice said, pointing at White. She turned to Hatter who still stared down Most High who had more then likely fallen asleep out of boredom. "Why were you after it?"

Hatter looked up at her. "I wanted it and he stole it before I could."

"Of course." Alice said, as if that answer had been the simplest thing in the world and she should have figured that out on her own. With a roll of her eyes she pointed at the Club Queen. "Help her out."

"Yes, yes, indeed." Hatter said, setting his teacup down and taking great enjoyment on tearing the Christmas paper a part piece by piece.

White stretched out of the floor, next to where March had slumped. "This is fun. We'll do Christmas in here?"

"It's a little more involved then that." Alice chuckled, reaching out to stroke March's hair out of habit. "You come over tomorrow, as long as you promise to behave. I'll show you."

"Party. Cheers." Hatter laughed loudly, letting the sound echo through the otherwise quiet room.

December 21st

"Spade is here." Lane, the Rhodes housekeeper spoke up, peeking into the living room where Alice was going through box after box. She smiled wide at Alice as she did every time Spade showed up. She acted as if he were a gentleman caller from some old movie.

"Thanks." Alice said absent-mindedly, looking up as Lane wandered off and Spade came in. With his jacket probably hung by the door he wore a black sweater and dark blue jeans. It brought a quick smile to her lips. "Hey."

He entered, taking her hand and kissing her palm before leaning down to peak her lips in a hello. "Sorry I'm later then I said I'd be. I had to make sure our buffoons remembered the rules. You really do have a tree in your house. A tree of all things." He continued quickly, looking up at the huge tree that practically took up one large corner of the living room. It was still bare, with nothing on it but the lights wrapped around it.

"Yeah." Alice chuckled. She'd spent the night before explaining to Spade and the others the religious aspects of Christmas and some of the traditions that most people still practiced. Needless to say they found them fascinatingly crazy.

"And we decorate it." Spade continued, looking at the boxes that Alice had been going through. "You do this by yourself?"

"Well normally mom does it with me but I told her you were coming." Alice smiled at him. "So she took that as some hint I didn't mean to give and decided to help out Lane and Erin make cookies."

Spade frowned, "I don't want to interrupt the time you normally share together. That wasn't my intention."

"She knows that." Alice took his hand and leaned up to kiss his cheek. "I told her it was your first Christmas so she's just happy you're here." She didn't want to continue by telling him that her mother had almost demanded Spade spend Christmas with them once she remembered that he had been orphaned. That would have dug up to many memories for him.

"If you're sure." He said, watching her curiously. He reached out to tuck a stand of her hair behind her ear and smiled a little. "The boxes?"

Alice had been staring up at him, a small blush crossing her cheeks as she nodded. "Um, right, the boxes. The boxes are full of the decorations. One is full of paper ornaments and ones I made when I was little, and the other is full of the more, expensive glass ones."

"Alright." He said, his voice holding amusing as he stroked her cheek with his thumb.

She had hoped that being married to him for the last few months would have meant he couldn't embarrass her so easily. She was wrong. Swallowing, she continued. "The other box holds other decorations for the mantel. The nativity set. Things like that."

"Mhm." He nodded.

"Stop it." Alice stared up at him. "I know you know what you're doing. Stop pretending to be all innocent."

Spade laughed, dipping down for a kiss. "I'm sorry. Put me to work, dear love. Teach me how to have a Christmas."

Keeping herself from smiling wide, she nodded, setting the box she had been going through before onto the couch. "I put the glass ones on first just because they need the sturdy branches."

He chuckled and picked up one of the glass balls to hang it on the tree.

"You're a natural." Alice said, taking her turn to poke fun at him. "See it's not really a hard process. I've been doing this forever it seems like."

"I just have to hope the others are more help then hindrance." Spade mused. "They do tend to get in the way with their mischief."

Alice nodded and shrugged. "If nothing else they can do a tea party for my mom."

"We'll there's the magic word." Spade laughed quietly.

The doorbell rang, once, twice, three times in rapid fire and both of them looked up. They hadn't heard a car door but that didn't mean anything.

"Get the door please, Alice!" Angela yelled, noise coming from the kitchen. "Our hands are full!"

"Yeah, alright." Alice muttered, setting the ornament down she held. "Be right back."

This was the part of the holiday she needed to be prepared for. Though a part of her suspected it was only Hatter or White, her closer family members would be popping up to stay soon and that would make an otherwise joyful time, stressful.

Opening the door she was faced with an older couple. Her grandparents on her mother's side.

"Hey gramma Bubbles." Alice chuckled instantly as her grandmother wrapped her arms around her tightly. The older woman was wrinkled and delighted to be so. Each one told a story of her life and she claimed to love looking experienced. She was quite a few inches shorter then Alice but their looks were unmistakable.

Alice only hoped she was as happy as her gramma when she was that age.

"Where's your boy!" she cheered happily, instead of a normal greeting. "Bring him to me!"

Alice chuckled, with the knowledge that her grandmother was losing her mind, she could laugh at most comments she made. "He's here, he's here." Alice said, pulling away from her grandmother to hug her grandfather. "Hey gramps. Get in out of the cold."

"Hey there girlie." he said, squeezing her tight before stepping in. "I do believe I smell something cookin'. Is that where your mam is or is she off saving the day somewhere?"

"Kitchen." Alice nodded with a smile. "Dad's the one saving lives today, or something like that."

"How very exciting, where is this boy?" Bubbles said, taking off her coat and wandering into the house.

"You have bags, gramps?" Alice asked, though her expression went nervous at the thought of her grandmother being alone with her boyfriend.

He shut the door behind him and kissed her head again. "I'll get them later, girlie. I gotta go snoop around the kitchen to make your mam uncomfortable."

Alice chuckled at the thought, but her grandfather had been a great chef with several chains of restaurants before he had retired. She knew it would only be a matter of minutes before her mother would rush out to the store to get something she'd forgotten while the girls worked with him to cook.

"Alice." Bubbles cooed as Alice came back into the room. Spade was smiling wide as her grandmother had a hold of his hands. "This boy is lovely, and he talks pretty to and old lady like me. You keep him."

Alice nodded. "Yes ma'am, I have every intention of doing just that." Alice nodded.

"You're grandmother says I have a good look in my eye. Said I passed her first test." Spade told her. She could tell he wasn't sure if Bubbles was being serious or not but it delighted him either way.

"She would know." Alice nodded.

"Have a seat, please." Spade said, leading Bubbles to the chair where she promptly sat.

"Hey mom." Angela slid into the room and kissed her mothers cheek. "I hope you're not giving Spade and Alice a hard time. They have decorating to do."

"Bah." Bubbles waved of the comment. "I'm old. I get to inconvenience people. It's part of being old and I like it."

Spade chuckled quietly. "We're fine, Lady Rhodes."

Angela smiled at him kindly and sighed. "Good. You two hold down the fort. I have to run to the store for a minute. Don't let you're grandparents take over the house."

"Too late." Bubbles said, picking up one of the smaller boxes of decorations and digging through it.

Alice gave her mom a look she knew she would recognize. "We got it. Erin and Lane with gramps?"

"Erin's in the laundry room and I think Lane is looking for the outside lights in the garage. He'll be fine in there just take a peek in on him in a few minutes." Angela nodded, grabbing her purse.

Bubbles rolled her eyes. "He's not a child, Angie. You hurry and go so you can hurry and come back."

"Sure mom." Angela chuckled. "I'll be back."

She walked out and Bubbles sighed dramatically. "How she leaves us."

"You practically kicked her out gramma." Alice said, grinning up at the older woman who stared her down before grinning back.

"Maybe."

Spade smiled faintly, taking the ornaments that Bubbles handed him and listened to her directions for where on the three she wanted each one.

"Higher." She said firmly.

"I can't go higher, so be default you want it lower. Here I think." Spade said, hanging the ornament, and knowing he got it right when Bubbles clapped in agreement. It was almost strange to him how he easily understood the older woman's logic. It wasn't so different from what he was brought up with. Wonderland was a world of nonsense after all.

"He's very nice." Grandma Bubbles cooed, looking up at Spade directly. "Very nice. Very handsome. You'll have cute babies."

Both Spade and Alice turned a sudden light shade of red at the implication.

"Gramma." Alice muttered. "Could you not? I mean, really."

"What?" She demanded, "I wanna be a great gramma. Great gramma Bubbles! Get crackin` young lady."

Alice just sighed.

Spade hung another ornament, hoping to stay out of the embarrassing conversation but it was no use. These were people he wanted to impress and that was going to be hard if they were all like her grandmother. She might seem off but she was sharp when on a topic she liked.

"What's to be embarrassed about?" Grandma Bubbles asked, with a sigh she gave a reminiscing look. "I remember the first time I made love to your grandfather under our Christmas tree." She paused. "That's where your Aunt Holly was conceived, you know."

"Gramma!" Alice gave her a mortified look. She couldn't pluck up the courage to look back at Spade who was also a shade darker.

The older woman laughed happily. "My darling, sex is nothing to be ashamed of when in love. You got that look. And you, boy." She pointed to Spade until he turned to face her respectively. "You got love in your eye for my grandbaby. Good. I like that. As soon as the tree is fully decorated, it's all yours."

Spade started to speak but he couldn't think of a single thing to say to that particular comment. It really only made him realize how much he wanted to be alone with his darling wife.

"Gramma, don't say that!" Alice hissed, praying no one in the house heard. "And keep you're voice down."

"Oooooh." Grandma Bubbles smiled. "You're mama doesn't know about that. That's probably for the best. I'll keep your secret. After I tell your grandfather of course."

Alice groaned. "I wish you wouldn't."

"Awe, baby, he and I had a bet going. I gotta collect my winnings and he's gotta collect his, if you know what I mean."

"I really don't, and really, really don't want to know." Alice muttered, looking back at Spade who appeared to be as helpless as she was. "I'm sorry your first Christmas gets to be so eventful."

Spade smiled softly at her, reaching out to touch her cheek. "I don't mind. You know I would rather be here." He leaned just enough to meet Alice half way for a kiss, a kiss that was interrupted by a click and flash.

"Bubbles." Alice sighed.

Her grandmother sat holding a camera. "What? I gotta show the girls when I got home. They'll be jealous the lot of them. Not only is my grandbaby so pretty, but she's dating a stud,"

Alice sighed loudly again as she pressed her face into Spade's shoulder and muffled another apology. "Mom's bad enough with the camera!" Alice finally snapped when she heard the click again.

"Mem-ories." Grandma Bubbles sang joyfully, but she tucked it back into her pocket. "So what's this I just heard about a first Christmas?" She turned to examine Spade before a worried look crossed her face. "Have you not found Jesus yet?"

"Um.." Spade muttered, squeezing Alice's hand as a way of begging for help.

"Me either." Bubbles said. "The woman next door is always asking me if I've met Jesus yet. Someone needs to track that poor boy down and send him home."

Alice nearly choked on her laughter. "Gramma...Just…never mind. This is Spade's first Christmas."

"Then we must make it a very good one. I've been taking salsa lessons; we should put them to good use." Grandma Bubbles nodded. "I got the incense in the car."

Turning back to look up at Spade. "I have no idea what those two things have to do with one another."

"I salsaed once. Then I added some chips and salsa to my tea and it was quite scrumptious." Hatter's voice filled the room along with White's laughter. "Oh, goodness me, goodness me. Look at that! How cute. Their putting lights and things on a tree inside. How incredibly insane."

"Maybe they're drunk." White added with a sly smile. "Must be it, that's pretty crazy to me."

"And Alice thinks we're nuts." Hatter chuckled, pulling out a steaming hot cup of tea from his jacket pocket.

"Oh, I'll have one of those too." Grandma Bubbles said, not startled in the least. It drew Hatter and White's attention to her for the first time. They stared as if inspecting her and she did the same.

"Who are you?" Hatter asked, sipping from his cup.

"The one who was apparently rudely denied tea." Grandma Bubbles said, looking dejected for a moment.

Alice shook her head and suddenly realized why it was so easy for her to get along with the weirdo's. "She's my grandmother, Hatter. Be nice or I'll be mean."

Hatter looked at her and grinned wide. "Oh?"

"Grandmother." White purred sweetly, taking her hand and kissing the back of it charmingly. "I and both honored and enamored to meet you my fine Lady."

Grandma Bubbles laughed in an infatuated way. "Awe, aren't they cute. Call me Bubbles, that's what all the boys used to call me." She said with a wink.

"Lord give me strength." Alice mumbled, rubbing her temples. "If you two are going to hang around you can help put up decorations."

"But we're tending to Lady Bubbles." Hatter grinned, pulling out a second cup of tea.

"Tend to her by decorating." Alice said, playing a box of decorations in White's lap. That's the mantel stuff and window stuff. Get going. Ask me if you don't know what something is."

White pouted. "Yes, your Highness."

"Oh, you have these boys trained well." Bubbles chuckled. "Well done!"

"They do what they want too gran, nothing more or less." Alice said, nearly screaming when Spade grabbed her from behind and bent down to press a kiss to her temple. "Case and point."

"Why am I always getting left behind?" March whined, he was walking into the room with Alice's grandfather, Henry behind him. He had a cookie pressed to his lips and looked like he was near tears.

Hatter stared at him. "Why do you have a cookie?"

March smiled brightly. "Gramps gave it to me!"

"Woah, lucky." Alice chuckled, going back to decorating the tree.

"Alice, where are you getting these pretty boys from!" Bubbles gushed. "Look. Look at that one he looks like a lion."

Grinning, March meowed on cue. His mane of hair certainly gave him that appeal and the others merely rolled their eyes. The March Hare had the ability to seem perfectly innocent and charming when most cases meant that there was something devious lurking behind his actions.

"You can all have some after the tree is decorated." Henry said continuing into the kitchen where he seemed to be the most at home.

"Alice, is the lady gramma?" March asked with a bright smile. "I met gramps already. We can keep them?"

Alice chuckled. "They're my grandparents, they're visiting for Christmas."

"Train!" Hatter said, delighted as he pulled a train set out of one of the boxes. "It's huge and tiny all at the same time! Magnificent!"

"We don't always use that. You can set it up if you want. They're rails in there somewhere." Alice said.

Spade gave her a curious look. "What's it for?"

"Decoration, we put it on under the tree sometimes." Alice said.

Bubbles shook her head, "No, no, no, they can't make love under the tree of the train is in the way."

"Gran!" Alice scolded, face heating up again as all three boys smirked at Alice and Spade.

"Oh, we can't have that." Hatter cooed, giving the train a lingering look. "So much potential but who am i to ruin such an engagement."

White sat on Bubbles side and laced his fingers with hers. "There is always the fireplace. In the dark. Could snow, give it a little something romantic."

Bubbles gave him a thoughtful look. "That could do it."

Alice turned to Spade with wide eyes. "Can they make it snow."

He actually looked uncertain and gave her a bit of a shrug. "I try not to let their capabilities of mischief surprise me. I wouldn't think so but I've been wrong before."

"A very Merry UnBirthday to you, my dear." Hatter smiled, pulling out a biscuit and handing it to March when he came over to help Hatter assemble the train.

"For me?" March smiled.

"For you!" Hatter nodded, and it started off the two of them humming as they decorated. White did little to nothing other then keeping Bubbles entertained.

It didn't take too much longer for the decorations to come along with a break to follow. Spade sat back with Alice on the couch and looked up at the tree when March dimmed the lights in the room and Hatter closed the curtains. There was a soft glow around the room and the boys from Wonderland all sat quietly at the looked up at the tree.

"Pretty sight." Bubbles commented.

Leaning down, Spade kissed Alice's cheek until she turned to kiss him fully. Already she could tell he was enjoying Christmas. It was peaceful and they needed that. They kissed until they heard a very deep sound of someone clearing their throat.

"Oh Adam, you had to go and ruin their moment." Bubbles scolded as they pulled apart. "How am I supposed to get great grand babies if you go interrupting them,"

"That's exactly why i am interrupting them, mom." Adam said, flipping the light on in the room.

"Hi dad." Alice smiled, wiping her mouth on her sleeve as she smiled. "Glad you're home."

Adam nodded. "Mom, Spade, boys. Looks like you kids did a good job decorating. You get to be the ones to take it down too."

"Like you help take stuff down anyway." Alice rolled here eyes.

"We should keep his presents." Hatter mused, earning a strange look from Adam.

"Hid them well this year i see."

Alice shrugged, leaning into Spade's arms. Recreating this in Wonderland might not have be a disaster if it ended up like this. At least they could get a little more privacy in Wonderland then they ever would here.

"Who wants to sing some Christmas carols?" Bubbles asked suddenly.

Hatter and March both looked up with a grin. "Sing?"

"Oh dear." White smiled.

"Merry Christmas." Spade chuckled, squeezing Alice closer.

December 22nd

Alice yawned wide, having slept in as late as she could. She had tried burying herself back into her pillows but the noise in the house was enough to crush whatever Christmas spirit she might have had when she got up. There was Christmas music playing, and not the joyful kind she enjoyed. It was the somber background noise that was just that, background music.

Along with that were dozens of voices, or it seemed like it anyway. That could only mean one thing, the arrivals of her aunt. They must have driven all night to be there at the early hour. One P.M., Alice noted, looking at her clock with a frown. She was still reluctant to leave her warm bed.

"Alice." She heard, her door creaking open. Bubbles peeked in with a wide, wrinkled smile. "Come say hello to your Auntie Holly and cousin. The sooner you say a pleasant hello the sooner you can make up an excuse to leave."

Alice laughed quietly. "You know me so well."

Bubbles nodded. "Your mam took your grandpa's keys. We're stranded but there is no reason you should be, you're a young`un."

"Love you Bubbles." Alice yawned again, rolling out of bed. She'd taken a bath the night before and didn't bother to shower as she took her hair out of the braid she'd put it in. Her hair frizzed out and she started in the mirror without a care. Bubbles had left her to get dressed and she was pleased with herself for remembering to tell both of her parents that she was going shopping with Mike today. She couldn't break plans to occupy her cousin who was sophomore in high school.

She was about to head down stairs when her phone went off, and only the ring tone made her pick it up.

"I should be in bed." She answered.

"I should be in you're bed too." Mikey said, as her long-term best friend, he got away with all kinds of things. "Why? Because it's at you're house and not mine. My aunt and uncle are here with their three hellions and my aunt's sister. It's been two hours and I'm about five seconds to sitting in my closet and sucking my thumb to comfort my broken spirit."

Alice snorted a laughed and grinned. At least she wasn't alone. "Sorry my dear boy, but I have my own problems. Gramps and Bubbles came yesterday and met my lovely King and our buffoons. Needless to say, Bubbles adores them."

"As expected." Mikey mused.

She yawned a third time. "But i just got up and Aunt Holly is here with Trent. I haven't gone downstairs yet."

"Run. Out the window. We'll meet at Spade's and hide in Wonderland." Mikey said, all the seriousness in his voice.

"You promised to go Christmas shopping with me." Alice reminded him and heard a loud groan on the other end of the phone. Birthday's and Christmas were the only times anyone could get him into a mall. "Promised." she repeated.

"I know. Hell, it'll get me out of my house for a while." he sighed, still sounding like a martyr.

"I still gotta get something for Mouse and Tina and I'm getting Trent the usual gift card." Alice said. The fact that he was giving her the same thing in return was also something of a tradition.

Mikey cursed quietly under his breath and pulled the phone away. "No, stay out of my room, Cricket. It's not a play area or a zone for you to pretend you're a spy or whatever."

Mikey loved his cousins when they were little and cute but getting older had strained the relationship. The older, Morgan, was now fourteen and loved to be a pain in his side. Respectively, he called her Cricket because of how she annoyed him.

"Meanie." Alice mocked.

"Shut it, Allie. Don't make me bring them over to your house." he laughed quietly, his voice drifting off again when there was a cheer of agreement. "No. You're not gonna go harass Alice. Damn it, Cricket."

"Shopping is looking like a fantastic idea, isn't it." Alice cooed, grinning wide.

"Hell yeah. I'll be there in fifteen minutes." Mikey said, hanging up rudely. Knowing the cause was probably someone in his family she brushed it off and shoved her phone in her pocket as she wandered off down stairs to where the voices gathered,

What made her frown deepen was the fact that their were more people then she expected. First was her Aunt Holly who was three years younger then her mother despite the fact that they could have looked like fraternal twins. Their hair was similar, and since she had cut it since the last time they'd seen her, she looked even more like her mother. The only difference was that she was considerably shorter Angela by at least three inches.

Her son Trent, obviously took after his father who had left them years before. His hair was dark and he was still tall and lanky from puberty being unkind to him. Still, he had charming habits that could fool anyone that didn't really know him. Lucky for him, he had plenty of time to grow into himself still.

"Alice." Angela smiled. "Could have brushed your hair."

"Could have." Alice agreed, smiling at her father who put his paper down long enough to hand her a glass of orange juice. "Thanks."

"Hey sweetie." Holly said, wrapping her arms tightly around Alice who wasn't expecting the contact. She stiffened up and was forced to relax in the extra long hug.

"Hey Aunt Holly!" Alice said, cursing the fact that she'd used up all the energy she had for that meeting. "I've missed you."

Holly beamed. "I've missed you too sweetie." she turned to Trent who waved slightly at Alice from his seat on the couch. "We have Trent's girlfriend Gena and his friend Douglas joining us."

Douglas was Asian of some kind and Alice wanted to guess Korean but she had no idea. He waved and said a polite 'hi' and Alice responded with a 'nice to meet you'. She could imagine spending a holiday with someone else's family could be awkward.

"Hi." Gena smiled wide and it was a look Alice immediately didn't like. She worked well with Trent.

"What's up." Alice said, and ignored Bubbles snickering. Was that woman always in her head?

"You." Her grandfather slipped into the room, handing her a muffin that was warm. It meant he'd made it earlier. "You missed breakfast lazy bones."

"Thanks gramps. Hide these, Mikey's coming over." Alice said, taking a large bite.

"Michael trying to escape his family already?" Adam grinned, looking up from his paper with a smirk. "Guess i should give his father a call."

Alice nodded. "Don't want a repeat of last year."

"He duct taped his cousin to chairs and put them out on the front porch until their parents got home." Trent supplied to his friends who gave a curiously polite look.

"In his defense, Bubbles gave him the idea." Alice said, sitting on the arm of the couch next to her grandmother.

Bubbles laughed. "I will not be held responsible for what you young people do."

"It was electric blue tape that you pulled out of your purse and gave me along with the suggestion." Mikey grinned, suddenly standing in the doorway and gaining everyone's attention. Since he had become a Judge to Wonderland, his sneaking around skills had seriously improved.

"Mike-Mike!" Bubbles grinned, opening her arms for him.

Mikey came in with a large smile, shaking Grandpa Henry's hand first before heading into the room and bowing down to wrap his arms around Bubbles.

"Hey Trent." He continued when he straightened up again. "Aunt Holly."

"Hey Michael." Trent said, clasping onto Gena's hand. Like the rest of the family, he had always assumed that Mikey and Alice we're going to end up together. It was something the two of them liked to laugh about.

"Tea giver! Bunny! Son! Lion!" Bubbles cheered when she saw who had followed Mikey inside. White was across the room in an instant, going down on one knee and taking Bubbles hand and kissing her knuckles.

"My Lady." He greeted

Alice grinned when Henry conked him on the top of the head. "Watch it boy."

White grinned up at him. "I shall respect your territory."

"Poor Bunny." Bubbles said, patting White's hand.

"Bunny." Trent blinked.

"Bunny?" Mikey grinned. "Oh, someone's got a new nickname,"

White glared up at the Wonderland judge. "Don't even think about it."

"I'm thinking about it." Hatter said, sipping from his saucer. "In fact, it nearly moves me to tears of joy. I plan on telling everyone."

Alice got up and moved to Spade who was leaning on the doorframe with an amused smile. She leaned up to kiss him and he responded but running his hands through her curled hair, something she found out months ago that he enjoyed.

"Shopping day." March cooed, tugging on her sleeve to get her attention. "Mikey invited us. That's okay, right? Right? We want to."

"Yeah," Alice smiled, leaning back against Spade's chest.

"Alice, don't be rude." Angela mused, sipping her coffee. She almost didn't realize people in the room were staring.

"Right." Alice muttered, looking up at Spade and she pointed around the room. "My Aunt Holly, my cousin Trent and his friends Douglas and Gena." She turned back towards her aunt. "Hatter, White, March and my boyfriend Spade."

"What kind of gang names are those." Trent raised an eye.

"What kind would you like them to be." Hatter asked, pulling out a second cup of tea to hand to Bubbles and for once, everyone gave him a strange look.

Mikey chuckled. "They don't call him the Mad Hatter for nothing. I'd be nice Trent."

"How long have the two of you been going out then?" Aunt Holly asked instead, trying to direct the awkward conversation elsewhere.

"Four months, something like that." Alice said, hardly noticing Spade's arm slipping around her waist.

Trent nodded. "Right, i heard you talking on the phone ma, they have the matching tattoo's or something like that."

For a spilt second Holly and Angela both looked horrified but Alice was already aware of the fact that her mother talked about her, "Yeah, we have matching tattoo's."

"Which then did completely on their own." Adam muttered, still not happy about his daughter's momentarily delinquent streak as he called it. "Took Michael along with them."

Mikey proudly displayed his wrists for all to see, showing off the four tattoo's, each one in the shape of a deck of cards. A spade and heart on one wrist and a diamond and a club on the other.

"Don't you think you should have waited?" Gena asked. "I mean, it's only been a short time and all that. What if you break up?"

"We won't." Alice and Spade said simultaneously, both ignoring the chorus of laughter from the boys from Wonderland, Mikey included.

"You're cousin is a little bit weird." March smiled brightly. "But we like weird. It's got character."

Trent and his friends didn't seem to know how to take the comment but the adults did better with keeping a straighter face, especially Henry who laughed out right.

"Good kids." he commented.

"Shopping." Mikey sighed, "Lets go."

"Wait, you're not all going in one car are you?" Adam said. "You all won't fit in either of your cars."

"Two cars, dad two." Mikey grinned. "Three and three."

Alice grabbed Spade and March's arms to lead them out. "Be back later, kay?" She pulled them out to the garage where her car was, leaving Mikey, White and Hatter to follow. She didn't dare linger to hear the sorts of things either of them would say when no one was watching them.

"Suppose they don't think very highly of us." Spade commented. "Are union is binding, you know."

"Yeah, i know." Alice said with a yawn. "We also don't owe them an explanation. Let's go."

They split up into groups of two once they reached the mall, deciding grudgingly that one royal should be in each group to control the crazies. Spade ended up going with White and Mikey and Alice went with Hatter and March. All and all, not a bad arrangement.

"Hatter, are you stealing?" Alice asked quietly after a while. She wanted to scold him but she also didn't want to yell that particular phrase across the store.

"Me? Never." Hatter purred, giving her the most innocent smile he could muster at the moment.

"Who is left on your list, Alice?" March smiled sweetly. They'd already checked off numerous people on her list and March was sweet enough to distract Hatter for her while she bought his gift. "I have to get gift cards for Trent and his two friends. Mom said it would be rude to neglect them. Personally I think it's rude for them to pop up too, but whatever."

Tipping his hat towards her, Hatter grinned. "Shall we be rude back?"

She shook her head, going over her list. "You can play nice as long as they do."

"Drat." Hatter pouted.

Alice shook her head and smiled, surprised he was behaving as much as he was. She wandered the mall with them trailing behind her and stopped at a store that was sure the gain their full attention.

"I need to get something for Mikey's youngest cousin still. I have a feeling I'm going to regret introducing you to the toy store." Alice mused, walking inside Toys R Us with the two behind her nearly gasping for air.

"Magic." March breathed.

"Look at all the stuff!" Hatter grinned, taking off down the isles.

It didn't take long for Alice to find the gift she wanted but it was keeping Hatter and March in line that took the effort. She caught them once in the back of the store, duel with foam swords, getting glares from mothers who had to tear their kids away from watching. Another time she found March laying dead center in a pile of stuffed animals and Hatter walking around wearing Incredible Hulk hands.

They knocked over displays and promptly put them back before anyone could complain. Hatter wanted the things on the top shelves and would climb up to them to get it while March was demanding things behind the glass doors that were behind the register.

Even finished with her shopping she couldn't keep up with the two of them. More then once she lost them and had to track them down before they could get into serious mischief.

"Alice!" Hatter's voice carried through the store and she found him quickly before he started screaming.

"What?" She asked when she got to him, unable to ignore March's uncontrollable giggling.

Hatter sat on the floor holding a giant plastic teapot that has plastic dishes inside. He was shaking it upside down trying to get the dishes despite it still being wrapping in plastic.

Hatter looked up at her. "These dishes don't break when they clank-clank together. They aren't shiny. What's wrong with them?"

Alice sighed, staring at him. There were times it was hard for her to believe he was so simple. "Their plastic. For pretend tea parties. For little kids."

"We like toys." March grinned wide, not caring in the least that the little kids in the store seemed to take great pleasure in watching Hatter and himself run around.

"I can tell." Alice nodded slowly, glad she at least left the toy store for last. She had to remember that at least it was just the two of them with her. It could have been worse had others from Wonderland been involved.

"We're done, we can go." Alice continued, pulling out her phone to text Mikey. "Let's go meet Spade and the others now and we'll get something to eat."

Going out to eat wasn't so bad. If nothing else the boys from Wonderland found the food in the normal world to be a delicious treat. It was one of few times Alice was assured that any of them ate things besides cakes and muffins. The only one she had ever really seen eat was Spade and she spent a great deal more time with him then the others.

Alice left her presents in March's capable hands and he promised to guard her gifts from anyone that would try to sneak a peek until it was time. Once they had returned to Wonderland he took off with that important job and the others gathered into a sitting room of Spade's normal land home to watch movies.

Most High and Little One had arrived on time for once with the promise of snacks and movies and even though Little One came pouting, it was over shadowed with Christmas songs. Alice had brought the movies she promised and they spent the rest of the evening watching the Santa Claus, Polar Express, White Christmas and Most High's Favorite, A Muppet's Christmas Carol.

That one they ended up watching twice after Most High refused to stop dancing in front of the TV until it was put in again. Little One on the other hand was just trying to recreate the movies by repeating every line.

In the end Alice just gave the two Club Royals the DVD so they would be able to watch it there whenever they wanted. Call it an early Christmas gift.

It was well after dark when Alice and Mikey decided it would be best if they went home. If they didn't they'd end up staying the night in Wonderland and the Christmas season wasn't the time to tick off their family.

"Should you have been spending time with your family instead of us?" Spade asked as he walked Alice home. It had been nagging him for a while.

Alice shook her head. "The reason Trent brought friends is so he doesn't have to spend time with us. He's too cool for us an all. Normally Mikey and I would sit in my room, or his for a majority of the day. Sometimes Trent would join us, sometimes he wouldn't. Last year he took the pouting, loner route. No one is worried about me spending a day with my boyfriend and friends."

He reached up to stroke his fingers through her still curled hair. "I know you say it's okay, but your traditions are important to you."

She squeezed his hand and leaned against him as they walked. "Yep. Mikey and I spent another day of our winter break, watching movies and present shopping. It was normal."

"You'd tell me anything." Spade teased, stopping on the porch with her. The house was quiet but that didn't really show who was still awake inside. "I hate being apart from you."

Alice reached up, cupping his face in her hands and pulling him down to kiss. "I'm not a fan of it either. Couple more months then it's graduation."

"I'll wait." Spade said, hands sliding around her waist. He pulled her against him and in seconds they were intertwined. Alice was pressed firmly against him and his hands were traveling up into her jacket. Their ragged breathe showed just how intense things could quickly become between them and in no time at all they were sitting on the porch still fused together.

"I should have stayed at your house." Alice groaned, when he bite into her collar. Even the cold didn't bother them. At the moment, cold was the one thing the two of them weren't.

"I wish you had." He admitted.

With a kiss and pressed her forehead to his. "I love you. I'll see you tomorrow…"

Spade nodded, reluctantly pulling away from her. With a smaller kiss he waited until she was inside before walking back down the street to his Wonderland connected home.

December 23rd

Alice had hoped the first awkward day away from her family would have allowed their Christmas guests some time to relax and get used to not being home but she was by far not that lucky. It started early, the bickering between Angela and Holly. If nothing else it entertained Bubbles but everyone else in the house was on a short fuse.

"Holly, please sit down. I know you want to help but you'll just be in Erin's way." Angela pleaded.

Erin had asked to stay during the holidays to help out, where Lane had gone home the night before to see her family. It meant Erin was taking her Christmas bonus seriously and was doing more then just a little cooking and cleaning. Everything was always in place and the meals were like feasts.

"I just wanted to give her a hand," Holly chided. "It's far too much work for one person to do."

"It's her work." Angela disagreed. "She made the menu's. She knows what she can do. You don't need to be creeping around the kitchen today."

Erin nodded. "I've made most of the things before hand. There really is never a rush to get the food on the table." She didn't like the fighting between her employer and her sister, especially when it involved her work. It could have serious consequences if Angela got fed up.

Alice watched them argue back and forth as she sat at the kitchen table next to her cousin and his friends. They four of them tried to pretend it wasn't awkward and Alice sat in silence as the other three talked quietly amongst themselves.

"Mom, please!" Trent finally said loudly to interrupt the arguing. "You hate having to cook at home, stop volunteering here. It's annoying as hell."

"Trent!" His mother scolded. "You were raised better then that. This is a special time of year."

He rolled his eyes. "Yeah, mom. That's way you've practically been yelling at Aunt Angela all morning. You know it was breakfast when we came in. It's lunch now."

"Erin already brought us sandwiches." Gena muttered.

"We're not yelling." Holly sighed.

Angela shook her head, and Alice had a sneaking suspicion that her mother would have rather been at work. Other people's problems were easier to deal with then the ones in her own family.

"Then why are my ear drums ringing?" Trent raised a brow, giving his mother a sarcastic look. High school seemed to have turned him into an even bigger brat.

"No one made you sit in here." Alice chuckled. "You're the one choosing to sit in here."

"Where are we gonna go? Hang out in the guest room we're sharing all day?" Trent gave her a bemused look. "It's freezing outside and there's no place around here to hang out."

Alice sighed, dealing with crazies was a lot easier then dealing with brats "Then go watch a movie or something."

"There's a real good time." Douglas muttered.

It could have been, she'd just done it the night before. "That's a really lame excuse. Quit acting like you're a spoiled kid, acting out for attention."

"Alice, was that really called for?" Adam asked as he entered, returning his empty lunch plate to the sink.

"Sorry." Alice shook her head. "I said acting, clearly they're not acting and this complaining is for real."

Angela made sure to not look at Alice as the comment passed her lips. She wanted to badly to laugh but feeding into her daughters snotty behaving wouldn't have solved anything. It was hard to say when the arguing had shifted from herself and her sister to Alice and Trent, but they'd obviously been setting the wrong example to start with.

"Alice..." Adam said again.

"Why are you even here?" Trent stared at her. "You bailed all yesterday to go screw your boyfriend why should today be the day you grace us with your presence."

The kitchen was very still but Alice rolled her eyes and laughed loudly. "Yep, cause that's the kind of thing I do with him boyfriend when we go out with at least four of our friends. Makes for a real good time."

Trent snorted and gave her a sarcastic smile. "Yeah, there you go Alice, playing the sweet and innocent card. No one would ever believe you would every do anything naughty."

"Trent, that's enough." Holly said, but her words went on deaf ears.

"I mean how many people do you have fooled. You practically spend the night at your boyfriend's house and no one thinks you did anything? Yeah right." He said, trying to make the words hurtful. Gena and Douglas both snickered quietly, obviously agreeing with him. "You practically did him on the porch last night and I'm supposed to believe you got your virtue in tact? I'm not that friggin' gullible."

Alice felt the heat in her face but it was nothing compared to the sinking feeling of being punched in her stomach.

"Alice." Angela frowned hard, looking at her daughter. Of all the people in the room she'd have thought her mother would have been on her side.

"What? I'm not on trial here." Alice said, the only thing keeping her calm was the fact of knowing that panicking would only make things worse.

"Alice Rhodes." Adam said in his authoritative lawyer voice. "What were you doing last night?"

Of all the questions to ask..."I was at Spade's watching Christmas movies with him and seven others. You wanna subpoena them and ask them personally, dad?"

"Pictures worth a thousand words right?" Trent smiled, pulling out his cell phone and pulling out a picture he'd obviously taken the night before. The quality was horrendous but it was obviously Alice and Spade on the porch having a romantic moment. Lips locked, and appearances disheveled, it was hard evidence to argue.

Her father snatched the phone out of Trent's hand to see for himself and almost turned a dark shade of red from the fury that flew into him.

"Alice. It's this how you spend your time? Is this the consequences of your relationship with him? Disappearing at all hours of the day and night to spend with him? For sex?" Adam glowered.

"You're seriously asking me that?" Alice stared, not even flinching when her father held the phone out for her to look at again. She felt the churning in her stomach of Wonderland power and couldn't understand how Spade always kept it in check when he was angry. There were quite a few things she wanted to say to her darling cousin that she currently wanted to pummel into the ground.

"So she's sexual active." Bubbles said as she walked in slowly. "It's good for her. Holly, dear. I would like some tea."

"Mom." Angela frowned as Holly jumped up, thankful for something to do to put some distance between her and the kitchen table. "You knew already?"

Bubbles laughed. "Of course. Shame on both of you for not picking up on it faster. I really would like some tea. Where the tea giver boy. His was very good."

Adam looked infuriated. "Alice. Room. Now."

"You can't send me to my room." Alice stared. She hadn't been sent to her room since she was twelve years old and she wasn't going now.

"I damn well can. This is my house." Adam said firmly. "Go."

"Adam." Angela frowned.

"Oh I'll go alright." Alice muttered, getting up and smacking Trent in the back of the head as she left the kitchen.

"Shit!" he hissed, getting up to go after her when Douglas pulled him back down.

Alice really would have liked him to follow but killing him might have been a bit much but it was the best plan she had at the moment. She shoved her feet in her shoes and put her coat on before walking out. She had a number of bedrooms to choose from.

It was a short walk to Spade's house down the street and took an even short amount of time to step into Wonderland. The second she did March was by her side, slipping his hand into her's. That alone told her how enraged she was that he would appear at her side so quickly.

"Spade was outside but Hatter went to get him, kay?" March said, leading Alice down the hall that would take her to the bedroom the shared.

Alice leaned to the side and kissed his cheek. He wasn't the once she wanted to scream at. Knowing that, he rubbed her back gentle and pushed open the door to their suite.

"You want me to stay with you till he gets here?" March asked.

"No, I'm okay. Gonna take a shower and wait." Alice said, hugging him tight for a moment and releasing him.

He smiled brightly, trying to heighten her mood a little before shutting the door behind him. With a sigh, Alice went through the second set of double doors, separating their suite from their actual bedroom. For a while she wanted to bask in Wonderland and forget about her parents knowing about her more intimate relationship with Spade.

She drew a bath and slipped into it after pulling her hair back and disregarding her coat and clothes on the floor. It was warm and sweet smelling and if she could have spent the rest of her winter break there she would have been all too happy.

It was bad enough that her school friends were always asking her about Spade and his friends, but now she was going to have to deal with a thousand and one questions about them at home. Telling her mother and father she was Queen of a nonsense world wouldn't go over well.

He cousin was another matter entirely. He'd grown to be a bigger brat then she remembered and she was tempted to ask White to pay him a little visit and teach him a couple of manners. Then again, normal teenagers didn't have their own brute force squad to fix all of their problems.

"What's wrong, dear love?" Spade asked, sitting on the edge of the tub and leaning down to kiss her head. She'd hadn't heard him enter the suite let along their bathroom. "You look miserable and March was nearly having a panic attack."

Guilt filled her. March was her defensive guard. The one that was supposed to protect her from the things that would harm or annoy her. This wasn't something he could shield her from.

"Tired of my family get together already." She sighed quietly, sinking lower into the water and hating how spoiled she sounded. Whining about her family over the Christmas holiday with every other teenager.

Spade stroked his fingers gently against her neck and nodded to show he was listening. "What in particular?"

"My cousin and his friends saw us on the porch last night."

"They what?" Spade blinked, not looking embarrassed but instead it was an annoyed look that crossed his face. His time with Alice was precious. "What would you like me to do about them?"

Alice shook her here, wiping her wet hands against her face. "They took a picture and showed my dad. Now my parents and my aunt know about us because Trent assumed and told them."

Spade frowned, understanding crashing into him. "You weren't ready for them to know."

"No. I really wasn't." Alice muttered, looking up at him.

"I'm sorry." he apologized but they both knew there was little he could do. He couldn't make them forget no matter how much both wished it were that simple. After all, Spade needed them to like him too. "How about we talk when you're done your bath."

"Can I stay here forever?" she muttered.

Spade leaned down to kiss her head and smiled. "You'll get wrinkly, dear love."

She smiled a little and nodded, standing up and taking the towel he handed her. Drying off took longer with Spade in the room with her but she wasn't one to complain about it. He had an arm around her waist and he kissed up her shoulder towards her neck. He seemed to like getting in the way of her getting dressed.

"Spade." Alice laughed quietly, trying to brush her hair over an hour later. "Get off."

"I am not able to. Not with my lady still so unhappy." Spade said. "Unhappiness leads to depression leading to misery leading to more unhappiness. I could not allow my lady to frown so much,"

Alice nodded, trying to smile. "Some days it just feels like it would be easier to stay here."

"I certainly would enjoy it." Spade muttered, kissing her chastely. "It doesn't have to be a bad thing that your parents know about us."

Alice cringed. "I wouldn't say that."

"Why not? So they know about us. They can't change it. They can't change what we are together. To each other. They can't change the fact that we are married." he paused. "Let's tell them that we are married."

Alice's jaw dropped at the sudden idea. "No."

"Alice, be reasonable." Spade said, sitting back on their bed. "It will make things easier for us."

"No, it won't. It will make things worse. I can't go home and tell my parents who are already blowing a gasket that we're married. They'll freak out and that's an understatement."

Spade sighed. "You would rather drag this out? Make their every new discovery about us an ordeal? Repeat this process over and over until neither of us can handle it. Us and them."

"Not at Christmas Spade. Where everyone tries to be nicer then usual and ends up being jerkier then normal. You can't drop that kind of news on people. I can't tell my parents that with the rest of my family there, sitting back and watching." Alice argued. She hated thinking back to her father enraged and her cousin gloating next to her, laughing at her expense.

"You refuse because you're family is there to see? This isn't a screw up, Alice, this is a good thing. You should share it not hide it. Not hide me from them."

"I'm not hiding you, Spade." Alice glared. "Not you, just Wonderland and I don't even know how permanent that is. My parents are logical. You know that. You know i have to work them into Wonderland."

"And then what? Wait for them both to have a melt down at being unable to process my home. My title or yours. When will this glorious process start of you revealing your real self to them?"

"Stop it." Alice said sternly. "This isn't about that."

"It's not about us, it's not about Wonderland, it's not about hiding me. Then what are you so upset about? Why are you here upset with your family because of what they have already learned?" He was back on his feet, a rare angry look crossing his features. Angry at her.

"This is about my parents knowing things that's not their business until I choose to tell them on my own terms. This is about someone else backing me into a corner, Spade. I'm pissed at my cousin, not you, but I'm not even sure about that right now."

He scoffed angrily. "He is still your family. You shouldn't have to deny what is between us."

"I haven't denied anything!" Alice yelled. "It's why my parents are pissed at me!"

"They should know their only daughter is married. This isn't a casual thing, Alice. What we have is permanent. They should know what I am to them. I've had enough hiding." Spade said, becoming increasingly frustrated with his Queen.

Alice pressed her palms to her eyes and sighed heavily. "Would you just shut up and listen. I can't go home and tell them I'm married! They'll freak! And about the sex stuff, that's worse! I'm only just barely eighteen! My dad will want to kill you. Get that through your head. I'm not hiding you and even if I was in some way it's for your own good!"

"What could he do to me, Alice." Spade stared at her. "If your father does not acknowledge me as a part of his family then he can do nothing to me. I have no family superiors to scold me and belittle me. No one but you and you hide me. Enough of it."

Alice held her hand up, partly enraged by his talking to her in such a way and partly guilty from knowing right where his words were coming from. He had no family. His family had been murdered and he was left orphaned and King.

"This isn't about that." She said slowly. "Would you just listen to me and stop hearing what you want to hear?"

"I've been listening, Alice. You're stalling for an explanation. Tell me why you're ashamed of me." Spade said, looking as hurt as he did angry.

She shook her head, grabbing her boots and coat. "I'm not talking to you while you're like this. This has nothing to do with you being King or Wonderland. It's about the fact that my family now thinks I'm some kind of tramp!"

"What are you doing? Do not leave while we are still unfinished." Spade said, not hearing her, only seeing that once again, she didn't plan on staying.

"No, I've head enough too." Alice glowered, walking out and slamming the door to their room behind her. She stormed out of the suite all together and was at this point, so frustrated she felt the tears threatening.

Her problem now was there were minimal places for her to go. Both rooms in Wonderland were out. There was no way in hell she was going home. She could wander around Wonderland hoping to get lost but that was just as terrifying at it was appealing.

She didn't have the confidence in getting to the Club Kingdom unharmed, and with her missing, Mikey's house was the first place everyone would check. Even if he said she wasn't there, chances were good no one would believe that until they checked for themselves. He lied for her too often.

It left her with few options and one she could except.

"Alice!"

Spades voice carried through the hall and without even looking back she seized that Wonderland power that churned in her gut and disappeared all together. She'd only done it a few times before and wasn't a fan of it. March and the others did it often and she had to assume it was only because they were used to it. She landed on a porch that wasn't hers and rang the doorbell to be let in.

In a few seconds Autumn stood in the door way, the smile on her face gone once she took Alice in.

"What's wrong?" she asked, frowning deep as she stepped aside for Alice to enter. Autumn had been one of her closest friends for years. They were on the same soccer team and Alice felt comfortable saying Autumn was one of her best 'sane' friends. "You look a mess."

"Thanks." Alice muttered, voice dry. She stood by the door for a moment, completely unsure now what she should be doing. She hadn't thought about what Autumn might have had planned that day.

"C'mon." Autumn said, watching Alice hesitate. She grabbed her arm and pulled her towards the stairs. "Dad, Uncle James and Aunt Liz are arguing about the temperature the oven's supposed to be set out or something. We'll go upstairs."

Alice nodded wordlessly and followed Autumn up to her room.

"You wanna stay that night?" Autumn asked after a moment, watching Alice take her coat off. "You know dad wouldn't mind."

Swallowing, Alice nodded again. She rubbed her face tiredly and felt claustrophobically cornered in her choices. She sat on the edge of Autumns bed and breathed out shakily.

"Wanna talk about it?" Autumn asked, slumping back on her bed.

"Could you do me a favor?" Alice asked, reaching up to push her hair back out of her face. When Autumn nodded she continued. "Just let Mikey know I'm here. I couldn't go to his house."

Autumn nodded. "Ah, we're hiding? Okay, I'm all for that. From who?"

"Everyone." Alice sighed. "My parents, Spade, all of them. I need a break."

"Hope I get details." Autumn said lightly, trying not to seem like she was prying but when she was the one helping the hider hide, she expected a little something. She pulled out her phone and spoke to Mikey while Alice did her best not to listen.

"Alice." Autumn said, nudging her. "He wants to know if you ran from home one and home two, and if so, who he's supposed to be pissed at."

Alice smiled, choking back a laugh. "Yeah. Both. He can be pissed at Trent if he wants."

"Do you want him to come over?" Autumn asked before talking back into the phone. "She's shaking her head."

"They all know I'd go to him so I can't." Alice muttered, letting Autumn relay the message. If she'd really wanted to talk to Mikey about it she would have called him herself, and that seemed to be something Autumn realized. The call ended a few minutes later and Autumn ended up sliding down onto the floor where Alice had positioned herself.

"Okay, talk time." Autumn said softly. "I get Trent pissing you off so you can't go home, but what did Spade do?"

"He's not listening!" Alice said, letting her frustration out.

"Okay. Now we're getting somewhere." Autumn said slowly, grabbing a pillow from her bed and handing it to Alice so she didn't have to rest her head on her knees. "What's he not listening too?"

Alice sniffed back her tears and decided she needed someone to take her side in things. Someone who would see the sane point of view.

"I can't go home and tell my parents that I'm technically married and he doesn't get that! How hard is that to understand?" Alice blurted out, hands shaking.

"Wait, what?" Autumn held a hand up, give her a stunned look. "Run that by me again?"

"Spade and I are married under Wonderland law." Alice said, clearing her throat. "You want me to start at the beginning?"

"Please." Autumn stared, wondering what joke she was getting sucked in on.

With a loud sigh, Alice started from the beginning. It took all day to get the story but there were so many things to go over. Getting sucked into Wonderland. She used as much detail as she could remember and refused to even look at Autumn as she spoke. It would have been too hard to continue.

She told Autumn about the Gate Keeper kid and the Kingdom. About getting lost several times and meeting the mermaid girl, Mouse, the twins and the Cheshire cat. She explained about Spade and gave her the truth about how their relationship started.

Of course she mentioned her being named Queen and how it was a title Most High shared. All of the new friends that Alice had made over the last few months really were off their rockers and they all came from the nonsense world Wonderland. If nothing else it also explained away her matching tattoo's and how Mikey acquired his around the same time.

Alice told her about the assassination attempts against the royal families and how Spade was the only one left. How the Heart family had done it all but was now peaceful because of the new boy King.

"So since Trent decided to be a prick, and tell my parents about my tainted freakin` virtue, they think they know all about it. Spade just wants to tell them we're married but he doesn't see that as pouring gas on a fire." Alice said, frustrated tears having started to fall a while before.

Autumn sat in silence for a while before nodding. "I don't think I would have believed any of that had I not met White and the others. I wondered about them a lot."

"I just dunno when all of this got so far out of hand. I don't want him to rush these things but I know how lonely he is." Alice hiccuped.

"Sounds like you're upset enough for the both of you." Autumn said, rubbing her friends shoulder lightly. "You can't be mad from your point of view and sympathetic from his. It won't get you anywhere. You can't tiptoe around these things."

"I know that." Alice said, breathing unsteady. "But I can't even go home now because I can't deal with it."

"Well sure, they don't know all the stuff you've got to cope with as is." Autumn muttered, nearly jumping out of her skin when she saw a third occupant in the room. "How did you get in?"

March stood, leaning against the door as he watched Alice helplessly.

"He's been here." Alice muttered, waving the presence off she'd felt half way through her story. Autumn gave her a disbelieving look since she hadn't noticed him at all but couldn't say a word when he knelt down next to Alice and pulled her against his chest.

"I so sorry, Alice." March said, holding her tightly as she finally cried properly, letting out all of her stress and fears. "His Majesty has been looking for you for hours."

"I don't care!" she cried.

March nodded, gently swaying back and forth with her. "I know. That's why I didn't tell him. Not him or anyone else. You're parents have been looking too, or they were until Mikey called them to tell them you were fine and to leave you alone."

"They think she's there?" Autumn asked, still a little unnerved with March's sudden presence.

"I guess so, but Spade knows she's not." March nodded. "Thank you for taking care of Alice." Autumn gave him a strange look.

"March is my defense." Alice said, her throat hurting from crying. "My guard that protects me from things."

March smile, squeezing Alice closer. "Yep. Even if his Majesty asks I can't tell him because it would hurt Alice and it would be going against my obligations. But please stop crying Alice. It's gonna be okay. I don't know why you're fighting but it's not the end of the world. It can't be because we're all still here."

Alice smiled faintly, leaning against him tiredly. He always had the ability to find her when she needed him.

"So this whole Wonderland thing is real?" Autumn sighed, watching him.

"As real as I am sitting here." March smiled. "I understand it's still the holiday season. I'll stay here with Alice if you would like to go down stairs. It's a little passed dinner time."

Autumn nodded slowly, rubbing Alice's back again as she got up. "Yeah. I'll bring you guys something to eat."

"Oh don't worry about that!" March grinned, pulling out a bag from under his vest that couldn't have been there before given the size of it but there it was. "I came prepared."

"Wow, okay. Not gonna ask." Autumn muttered, walking out with a smile as March set the bag on the floor. It was no doubt full of fast food he'd discovered he enjoyed.

"Thanks March." Alice muttered quietly.

He bowed his head and hugged her tightly. "Whatever you might need Alice. We're here."

December 24th

Christmas Eve wasn't shaping up to be the day she had hoped for. Alice was welcomed to breakfast with Autumns family and she could honestly tell how the adults in the family tried to make the day more special for Autumn who did spend a majority of the rest of the year on her own.

Alice's presence didn't change that at all. If nothing else it made the morning meal more festive.

"Your parents don't mind your being here, do they?" Autumn's father asked as the cleared the dishes away from the table.

"No sir." Alice lied. "They knew I had wanted to stop by this morning. I'll head home in a couple minutes."

He smiled at her, no doubt sensing her lie after having to deal with Autumn so often. "Doors always open for you."

"Thank you." Alice muttered, letting Autumn lead her out of the dining room. It would have been easy to spend Christmas there but she wasn't going to ruin Autumn's rare family time. Wandering around Wonderland would have been a better option. At least it couldn't hurt her like it used to.

"You don't gotta feel like you're getting chased out." Autumn said, watching Alice put her jacket back on. "I'll drive you home at least."

Alice shook her head. "Nah, I'm not going home just yet. I'm not ready for it. Not ready to deal with them staring at me, or trying too hard to not stare at me. Chances are good I'll beat the hell out of Trent too. As long as that sounds like a good idea, I can't go back."

"Yeah sure. Problem with that is that it's sounded like a good idea to you for the last four years. You can't just not go home because of that." Autumn muttered, "If not home then somewhere else. You can't walk in this cold."

"Thanks a lot, Autumn. I mean it." Alice said, opening the front door and walking out. "But I'm still moping."

She disappeared instantly, using her Wonderland powers to transport her again. She landed in a parking lot outside the mall. She coughed and rubbed her forehead. It might have been the fastest way to travel but she was going to need to start traveling with a barf bag if the side effects didn't start to mellow.

The mall seemed to be as good a place as any. It was packed full of people and it was easy to get lost. Even if she saw someone she knew she could hide easily. If walking blind into a world a shopping didn't make her feel better then she was just as depressed then she thought.

The walking around hadn't lasted long. She spent a great deal of time in shoe stores, trying on boots and heels to attempt to make herself feel better. The stores were so crowded but she wasn't trying to buy anything. It was just an escape that wasn't really working.

It was around noon when she checked her phone for the time and realized she'd never turned it back on. That at least explained why she wasn't being tracked down. Twenty two missed calls, twelve voice mails and something close to three dozen text messages. She didn't check any of them other than to tell Mikey so he wouldn't worry once Autumn called to tell him she was gone.

Twenty minutes later, as she sat humming 'Jingle Bells' her phone rang again. Checking which one of the many was attempting to reach her, she frowned at the number. Her mothers work number.

"Hello?" she answered, being met with a pause and mumble she couldn't hear. "Hold on, can't hear you." She said, making her way towards the bathroom in hopes of quiet. Christmas music still played over the speakers and there was a line in the bathroom but it was better. "Hello?" she said again.

"Where are you?" Angela asked, oddly enough not in a panic.

"Why are you at your office?" Alice asked instead.

She sighed. "Baby, as much as I love my family, I moved away for a reason. You and I cope the same way and sitting around in a house full of tension isn't that way. That and I talked to Mimi and I've known since yesterday you weren't at Michaels."

"Ah…" Leave it to Mikey's mom to ruin a perfectly good lie. "I spent the night at Autumns."

"Well that was my third guess. Your father was beside himself with the thought of you being at Spade's. I have to admit, it's where I thought you had gone."

Alice swallowed, ignoring the glances she was getting from the woman coming in and out of the restroom. "I did. We fought."

"Awe baby." Angela sighed again. "Where are you now? I hear music,"

"Mall." Alice muttered.

There was a pause before her mother responded. "How did you get there without your car. It was still in the garage when I left."

"Autumn dropped me off." Alice lied, sure should she be disturbed how easily lies were coming to her. "I'll find a ride home later."

Angela made a quiet noise. "How about I come get you? You and I will go to lunch and will discuss this without a third party breathing down our necks."

Alice looked at herself in the mirrors and nearly winced, the circles under her eyes were nothing to be desired, and her hair was only cute like it was when Spade was there to run his fingers through it. She pulled a comb out of her jacket pocket and went to work on taming it. "Okay, but mom, leave your degree at the office. I'm not looking for a Psychiatrist, but a mom would be nice."

"I'm on my way."

A little over forty five minutes later, Alice sat across from her mother in a booth as she let her mother order lunch for them. She'd been up front about the fact that she didn't have her wallet on her.

"So how are things on the home front?" Alice asked, sipping her soda.

"Your fathers beside himself, my sister's a twit, and you're cousin has regretted opening his mouth since your grandparents got ahold of him. I won't even start on how the two of them knew about you and Spade before me." She gave Alice a fairly put out look. "You don't have to tell me."

"Yeah, telling you how Bubbles tried to talk me and Spade into having sex under the Christmas tree isn't a discussion I really wanna have anyway." Alice said, looking at the table instead of her mother. Judging by the silence, it was for the best. She didn't want to try and figure out her mother's expression.

"How like my mom." Angela sighed quietly. "Always like that."

"Was embarrassing."

Angela snorted in a very unladylike way. "Yeah. I can imagine. Oddly enough it was your grandfather that pointed out you're an eighteen year old, straight A student, with a very respectful boyfriend."

"Yep." Alice blinked.

"Look Alice, your dad over reacted, and I wasn't any better. Trent was out of line, but my sister has been a tart for much of her life and she's only just trying to transition out of it." Angela said, trying to keep eye contact but Alice wasn't really cooperating.

Alice stared at the table. "Are you making excuses?"

"No baby. I just want you to realize that everyone of us has troubles, and at certain times, a person's own troubles are so blinding that they don't see anyone else's. Trent was taking his hostility out on you and none of us were any better." Angela explained.

"I asked you to leave your degree at the office." Alice scowled, rubbing her forehead to ease the tension away.

"Alice." Angela started. "I spend my days talking to kinds your age." She held her hand up to stop Alice from interrupting her. "Kids who don't want their mothers to know a thing about them because of me. Kids that want their own mothers or fathers to figure out why they're so angry or sad. They can tell a stranger only because they know it's confidential and all I can do it look at their parents with sympathy and attempt to point them in the right direction. I've spent a long time doing my job and now I'm starting to feel like one of those mothers who can't figure out her own child."

"You're a good mom." Alice frowned. "I just don't want my business advertised. That's all."

"I know, baby. You're not getting thrown to the dogs. You're responsible enough to know how to have safe sex." Angela said, making Alice internally wince. Prier experiences had been better suited for that assessment, but their first time couldn't exactly qualify as 'safe'. "Besides, I like Spade. He's a good kid."

"Yeah." Alice muttered.

Angela gave her daughter a long look. "So what were you and Spade fighting over?"

Alice made a vague gesture with her hands. "He doesn't see much of a problem with all you know knowing about it. He sees it as a good thing."

"So he wants to be honest with us, shame on him." Angela muttered sarcastically, smiling politely at the waiter as he set their food down and started to eat.

There was a good five minutes of silence between them where they focused on their food before either one made an attempt to talk again.

"It's more than that." Alice said. "He grew up without a family so he wants to be a part of one. It's not that he's rushing me or anything, there's just no transaction period. I'd like to be mortified for a little while longer and not head straight into acceptance they my entire family knows my business."

Angela nodded, sipping her tea before speaking. "He's got a good head on his shoulders, but so do you. When you have two people who are both right in a certain aspect of the same argument, they're going to clash a little bit. The point is, are you gonna let that be what divides you?"

"Mom…"

"No, listen." Angela chuckled softly. "You say that Spade wants a family. Needs a family. You already are that close person to him sweetie. Without all the boyfriend-girlfriend titles, without the sex, without out your father wanting to maim him, you two still have something. He's been good to you and vice versa. Don't allow the two of you to fight just because your cousin embarrassed you."

Alice frowned, nodding to show she was listening. She couldn't very well tell her mother she was technically already married to him under Wonderland law. That would take a little more explaining then she was willing to give. "I just can't apologize when I wasn't wrong."

"Were either of you really wrong though?" Angela asked, watching the emotions cross her daughters face. It was unusual to see on her usually guarded daughter.

"I dunno." Alice said quietly, looking back to her mother again. "What would you do if he proposed?"

Angela looked momentarily taken aback before frowning in thought. "Now? I'd say what are you thinking? You're too young. In time, it could be nice, but sweetie, right now you're a senior in high school. You don't have a job and you're living at home. You should both be a little well-adjusted before the marriage thing pops up."

"That's what I thought." Alice mused.

"I know he's got a house and money his parents left him, but he's still young too. He might decide he doesn't want to keep what was left to him." Angela shrugged.

It made Alice smile a little wider then she had been. "Oh no, I'm pretty sure he's treasures what they left him. I don't think he's going to be stepping down from his position any time soon."

"That might be so, but then you've never gone into detail on what he does." Angela shrugged. "As long as it's not illegal."

"It's not illegal." Alice laughed quietly, taking a bite of her sandwich and feeling a little better with things. "I'll tell you one day, mom. I'd like you to absorb it all a little at a time if you don't mind."

Her mother sighed. "Might be best where your father is concerned." They lapsed into another silence before Angela couldn't take it anymore. "Did he propose?"

Alice's smile grew. "You just look for a ring on my finger one day. Until then, you're safe from having to worry about it."

"Like I trust that." Angela smiled faintly. "C'mon, we'll shop a while before we go home. If you still don't want to go inside when we get home you can take a couple laps around the block before going in and you'll be fine."

"Yeah." Alice muttered, not feeling that same confidence. "Be fine."

Alice had gotten out of the car as soon as it had stopped and made a dash down the driveway before anyone inside of the house spotted her. Tightening her jacket around her she walked around the block once, passing Spade's house once before stopping in front of it on the second lap.

March had said Spade had been looking for her but that didn't touch her the way she thought it should. She wanted to give up on being mad at him, it only left her tired.

Instead of heading inside she walked around the side of the house. It was ridiculous to think Wonderland would just appear in the back yard but she'd never seen it before. Instead, it was a yard that looked much like hers. There were a few trees, a garden that was more taken over with weeds then with flowers and a small patio that stretched off the back door she didn't know was there.

Off one of the trees was an old swing that must have been left by the previous owners. It was really just two pieces of rope and a board for a seat, but it was sturdy enough. She tested with part of her weight before sitting fully. She only rocked a little back and forth with her feet still touching the ground rather than really attempting to trust the old swing.

The cold wasn't even bothering her anymore. It was her pride irritating her more than anything else. No matter what she thought, she wasn't a normal girl any more. If things didn't work between her and Spade then she was screwed. The boys at school did nothing for her anymore, but once you have a King how can you go back to the normal masses?

It was partly the fact that she was sure he was the one for her that had her so emotionally drained. They rarely fought, but fighting was supposed to be healthy wasn't it? If it ended up with him raising his voice and her storming off in a fit, she couldn't see how.

She blew out slowly, watching her breathe fog the air around her and she continued to sway back and forth slowly.

Against her better judgment she pulled out her phone and texted her mother. She might have just left the woman but she genuinely thought Spade was a good guy. Alice needed some of that.

'i feel pathetic' she hit send, knowing that after the last few hours, her mother wasn't gonna advertise her feelings to the family.

'Talk to him. He likes you.' Her mother sent back.

Alice sighed again, dreading the thought of hunting him down in Wonderland. As if her guards weren't bad enough, gossiped flied through Wonderland like a breeze. She didn't want to think about who else knew she and Spade were having some issues. Marrying into Royalty could suck sometimes.

She shoved her phone back her in pocket and kicked at the ground lightly. Her nose was frozen but even the cold weather wasn't enough motivation to get her into the house. Was no audience too much to ask for?

"I didn't even know this was back here, you know."

Alice looked up at Spade standing just inside the back yard and froze, her hair was suddenly standing on end and her heart jumped up to her throat. Why couldn't he make some noise when he moved? His hands were shoved deep in his coat pockets and he could have been standing there for any length of time.

"Your house." She shrugged, starting to swing back and forth again.

"Our house." he muttered, walking towards her. "It's that whole 'what's mine is yours' thing."

She just continued to push herself back and forth, staring at the ground and leaning her head against the rope of the swing. This wasn't the conversation she wanted to be having now. She'd cried too much already and that hadn't gotten her anywhere. It was too soon. All the mental preparations hadn't done squat.

Spade knelt down in front of her, steadying the seat of the swing and moving into her line of vision. "I think we need to try that conversation again without the yelling and accusing and hurting." He started. "I didn't mean to hurt you. I don't think either of us said what we said to be purposely harmful."

She shook her head, able to agree at least.

He took her gloved hand this time and pressed it to his face. "Alice. I'm sorry." He looked exhausted. Maybe he really had physically been looking for her.

"I don't want you to be sorry." She sighed shakily. "I just need you to understand."

"I said things I shouldn't have. I think I maybe just don't have a handle on holidays here. But I'm told that families often fight during holidays so I could in actuality be considered perfectly normal." Spade muttered, smiling weakly. He wanted nothing more than to get a small rise out of her.

Alice felt a twitch at her lips. "Mikey told you that?"

"Was it wrong?" Spade asked instead.

"No." She leaned forward, resting her head on his shoulder. The wool of his jacket actually just made her want to move closer. "I just don't like it."

Spade had an arm slid under her legs and lifted her up with him in one fluid motion. "You're absolutely frozen. Let's go inside." He didn't even wait for a response before carrying her inside through the back door. The heat wrapped around the two of them instantly and it was a blessing to be out of the cold.

Alice sniffed back tears that wanted to fall and pulled away from him. She'd expected to be half way in Spade Castle by now but instead he sat them both down on a couch that looked much like the one she had in her own home. He'd stayed in the normal world, in the normal house that they shared.

"You're eyes are red." He sighed softly himself, reaching up to wipe the bold tear that fell. "I've been so worried about you Alice. I didn't know where you had run off too. I didn't know where to look."

"Didn't really have many places i could go, did i?" Alice muttered, pulling her gloves, jacket and scarf off.

"I'm sorry." Spade said, stripping off his coat. "I'm sorry your family knowing about us bothers you."

She shook her head. "That doesn't bother me, Spade." She said, her voice tinted with sudden frustration. "Yeah, i didn't want them to know about the sex but that's because it's none of their business. You don't advertise that kind of stuff."

"You don't want to tell them we're married." Spade said calmly, knowing that the same commented that fueled their fight before.

"Spade." she groaned, leaning her forehead on his shoulder and thudding her fist against his chest. "I know that in Wonderland we're married. I understand that. But i just can't be married here. My parents would throw a fit, and it wouldn't make you likable to them. They want a ceremony, Spade. A ceremony that should take place after my graduation!"

He actually gave her a sudden puzzled look. "A wedding party?"

"Yes a wedding party. Which I'll assume isn't the same in Wonderland." Alice said, thudding his chest again. "C'mon Spade, little girls dream of their wedding and little girls parents dream of being involved with it. I can't go home letting my family think we've eloped, and on Christmas."

"I didn't realize." he admitted, looking flushed with the realization, "That you would want a ceremony in your world too. Something your family could attend. I should have realized."

Alice felt the pang of his words and looked up at him. "Spade..."

"Maybe Christmas is too much for me." He relented. "I don't often think about the reminders of my family but in your world that's what this seasons seems to be about. Maybe I've been taking that out on you."

She slid her arms around his neck, pulling him closer. She knew more than anything it was a family he wanted. His friends and subjects were loyal but they weren't his parents or his brother. "I'm sorry Spade. I didn't mean to...drag all of that up of you."

"No. It needed to be dug up since it was never properly buried. I just didn't like the thought of it. I still don't like the thought of it. But I shouldn't suffocate you in my desires to recreate something I've lost." Spade muttered, leaning into her welcomed embrace. "So I want to meet you half way. I want to tell your parents that we will get married in your world. Some day. One day." he reached up to touch his hand against her still chilled face. "Let them be prepared for it since I don't plan on letting you go."

"That sounds good, Spade." She said, resting her chin on top of his head. A possible engagement was much better than having eloped.

"I do not want to argue anymore." he said quietly. "Not on Christmas Eve, right?"

Alice leaned back enough to smile at him. "You remembered."

He nodded. "I remembered something else too. You get one present tonight and the rest tomorrow."

"Yeah?"

Spade sat up straighter and took off a bracelet she noticed now wasn't a part of his normal accessories. It was a leather band that held an oddly shaped black stone in the center of it. "It's a Wonderland Sea Stone. The deeper you search for them the deeper the color." He explained, wrapping the bracelet around her wrist. "It was my little brothers."

The words almost knocked the wind out of her. "Spade, should you give me something like this?" she asked softly, hearing the emotion in her own voice. "It has to be so important to you."

"To be honest, I've just come across it again. From the day he found it and dad made it a bracelet for him, he never took it off. I'd forgotten about it. I think he would have been upset at me for forgetting about it, and would probably only forgive me if I passed it along to you." Spade smiled faintly.

Alice looked down at the bracelet and wasn't sure she knew what to say. "Thank you."

"I think my parents would have liked Christmas." he muttered. "Though they would have undoubtedly liked you more."

She smiled, her face heating up. "How did you find it?"

"I've been looking through their things the last few days." He sighed again, pulling her with him as he leaned back into the couch. "Things I shoved away because I couldn't stand to look at them. Their things staring me in the face daily. Untouched when then should have been being used by their owners."

Alice nodded, admiring the bracelet she now wore. The stone she thought black at first glance seemed to be fused with shade of black, dark violet and gray depending on how the light hit it. It was beautiful. In the leather, the letters KYNE were etched carefully.
"Kyne." She read.
"My little brother." Spade said, resting his head against hers. "He was an odd little boy but I daresay he would have traded me in in a heartbeat to have you for a sister. He was easily adored."

A smile tugged at Alice's lips. "Replaced, huh?"

"Definitely, my dear one." He returned her smile. "I'll let you look at some of his things if you want to."

It was a silent invitation to help him go through old things. Alice couldn't help but have what was probably an unrealistic image in her head of Spade sitting in an old dusty room going through cardboard boxes. What was easier to picture was the fact that he would be doing said activity alone. It was probably as close as he could manage to ask for help going through something potentially painful.

"Of course." She said softly, moving enough to kiss his brow. He sighed quietly and nodded. The look alone was a silent thank you that grew into soft laugher when they both felt her phone vibrate.

"Who is it?" he asked, head having slid down to her shoulder now as she checked her mother's text.
"Don't be nosey. It's my other husband from that other nonsense world I frequently hang out in." She said, earning a teasing growling sound from Spade in response.
'Please get out of the cold if you're not already. Make up yet?' she read silently.

"Make up?" Spade asked.

"Watch it nosey." Alice smiled. "Mom's worried and rooting for you."

The notion made his face light up with a brilliant smile. "Really? She knew about the fight I gathered. No one at your house seemed to be in a good mood but I couldn't be sure of which reason that was for."

"Mom think's your all that." Alice mused. "And I don't want to deal with all of them yet so you'll have to deal with me tonight."

Spade made a noise of agreement. "I'll cope, love."

"I'm not sure what that tone implied." Alice chuckled, retuning her mother's text, staring with a simple smiley face. ': ) Inside, making up, staying here, see you tomorrow, love you'

When she looked up at him, light and heat engulfed her as a fire was roaring to life in the fireplace with little prompting. There's random magical nonsense for you. Alice raised an eye and looked from the fireplace to Spade who was smiling wide. It was a look she knew well. One that no one else ever saw and meant he was up to no good.
"I'll admit." He said after a pause, "It was an idea I've been thinking about even before your grandmother brought it up. Sorry I don't have a Christmas tree."

Alice felt her face heat up instantly and any remaining cold left her. "You coming onto me Spade?"

"Yes." He confessed, pulled her closer to kiss.

December 25th – Christmas

Alice and Spade had had a rude wakeup call the next morning that consisted of cheers from three trouble makers that 'stumbled' upon their King and Queen laid out on the floor. The fire had long since gone out during the night and neither one wished to get up. Instead Spade pulled Alice closer to him, making sure his love and Queen was covered from devious eyes.

"Presents." March said, voice sounding as if it was on the verge of tears. "You promised. Up, up."

"You said we could have them on Christmas. Its Christmas isn't it? Let us have them. Please." White said, sounding just as childish.
With a faint sigh, Spade got up, pulling Alice along with him and letting her cuddle against his chest as he kept the blankets around them. "You three are impatient. You know Christmas in Wonderland will be tonight with everyone. We'll exchange presents then. Alice still needs to spend time with her family."

Hatter groaned, not sounding particularly fond of said group and Alice could agree. "We didn't go through all of this work for nothing."

"Let Alice look." White muttered. She felt the nudging at her back but it quickly went away after a scolding noise from Spade who again, needed to readjust the blankets around her.

The three of them huffed irritatedly and continued to whine to Spade who wouldn't hear it. A morning person, he was not. Only Alice in his arms kept him agreeable.
Cracking her eyes open, she immediately noticed the room glowed a pretty yellow. With a soft gasp she sat up quickly, leaving Spade to make sure she stayed covered as she ogled the room that was prettily decorated. At some point the mischievous boys had put a lot of work into the room. The fireplace was decorated with care, including candles, garland, and stockings that appeared to be full.

A tree that hadn't been there the night before stood on the corner, decorated just as carefully as her tree at home had been. The lights twinkled and fake snow dusted the entire room. Nutcrackers, birds and angels could be found throughout the room and a small plate of cookie and a pot of tea laid waiting for the Royal couple to wake up.

Under the tree were a few presents and in the opposite corner were all the presents Alice had brought previously to wrap in privacy before she took them home.

"She likes it." March said softly, slumping down to his knees next to her and taking her hand to kiss her knuckles.

Alice felt her throat go dry as she peered around the room, finding something new with every glance. "You did this for me?"

"You were so unhappy." White muttered. "And we couldn't do anything to fix it."

"We couldn't even find you." Hatter grumbled, throwing March a semi dirty look. He sat next to the tree, his top hat resting in his lap. "What kind of guards does that make us?"

Spade kissed the side of her head, a hand rubbing her hip. "They wanted to make you happy again."

"You like it, right?" March asked, still holding onto her hand between his.

"It's beautiful." Alice said, her voice almost cracking from tears that threatened. No one had ever gone to so much trouble for her. Certainly not in one night. "How on Earth did you manage all this and not wake us up."

"That wasn't the hard part." White smirked, turning away before Spade could comment. "The two of you were knocked out.

"Christmas miracle!" Hatter sang, something he'd picked up from Mikey at some point. "Are we all better now though? Is Alice all better? Do I get to find out who upset her so I can do them bodily harm?"

White almost growled. "I do believe this is my job description. I'll be doing the harming, thank you."

"It's fine. Really it's fine." Alice shook her head. "I'm really sorry I made you guys worry."

A silence followed her, enough that she could hear the heat blowing through the vents in the house, making the tree move just slightly, ornaments clanking against each other.

"It's our pleasure to worry about you, your Highness Sugar." Hatter smiled faintly, sipping his tea, "Don't apologize."

White pulled the coffee table up close to the pair and March was there to pour their tea, both with fairly large smiles in place.

"You've shut them up." Spade whispered teasingly against her ear. "This certainly is a magically holiday."

"Don't be mean to us." White actually pouted, pushing his hair out of his face. "We worked hard."
"I can tell." Alice laughed softly, curling back up against Spade. "You can open the gifts with your names on them."

There was a sudden cheer from the boys and all three of them rushed the tree like small children would, digging through the piles of boxes and finding the ones for them. Buying for them was oddly easy and she was afraid she had spoiled them a bit.

Among their pile of loot were strobe lights, three toy foam swords, and tin lunchboxes in the shape of their favorite Star Wars character. She had bought a hoodie for all three of them and a small box of chocolates.

White got a few gag books like the "Zombie Survival Guide" and "The code for Zombie Pirate" and grinned excitedly. Hatter was given the plastic tea set from the toy story he adored so, and March got a "Make your own Volcano" kit.

Judging by their grins, they were happy, and it was almost hard for Alice to remember that they were older than her.

"You spoil them." Spade muttered, almost reading her mind as he watched his friends delight in their gifts with complete happiness. He pressed his lips against her temple and sighed contently to have her there. When he looked up again, March was there, shoving a few gifts in front of them.

"I spoil you too." Alice smiled up at him lazily. She picked up one of the boxes and handing it to him. "Here, now you can't feel left out."

Spade frowned, or tried to anyway. The corners of his lips were pulling upwards. He'd forgotten all about trying to get her to tell him what his mysterious presents were.

Along with a couple of books she had promised him, he got a cologne, two shirts (both black), a new pair of black gold studded earrings and a small sculpture of a strange creature Alice had commissioned from her artist friend Tina called a Jabberwocky.

He grinned at it like it was a small boy with an action figure. "Thank you, Alice."

"There might be on or two other things tucked away in my room." She shrugged, smiling faintly but it slid from her when Spade hand a small box in his hand, offering it to her.

"The rest of your gifts from us are in our room in Wonderland, but I wanted you to have this now." Spade said, smiling in amusement as Alice took his hesitantly and started unwrapping it. "It's doesn't sing, bite, fly, or explode. No need to be so uneasy. No uneasiness here, my dear one. All is well, you'll see."

Alice stuck her tongue out at him childishly. Once unwrapped, the box itself was beautiful. The polished wood was decorated with carved flowers and was stained darkly. The box alone had her smiling, and it grew when she opened it. Inside was a locket on a silver chain. The locket itself was an upside down spade that could have easily been mistaken for a heart if not for how the top of it looked. The same flowers that were on the box were carved into the metal locket. When she opened it, she was surprised to see a mirror on one half, and on the other was a tiny picture of her and Spade that had been taken Home Coming night.

"It's beautiful Spade." She said softly, slipping it on over her head and letting it dangle between her breasts.

"It was my mom's." he mused, watching her carefully as he pulled out the false bottom in the box. "This is new though."

Alice stared into the box and knew she must have looked like a deer in headlights. Laying on a tiny cushion was a ring she'd been silently hoping for. She didn't know what she thought it would be like but a part of her expected it to be large and gaudy, and a giant black diamond in the shape of a spade but instead it was dainty looking and gorgeous.

In the center of the band as a diamond with what looked like a dozen sapphires surrounding it. When all she could manage to do was stare at it, he picked it up from the box and held it.

"Put it on her." March whispered his voice obviously the loudest thing in the room.

It was enough to snap Alice out of her daze, making her raised her hand up to him expectantly. Without needing to be told twice, Spade slipped the ring onto her ring finger and kissed her knuckles. "I love you." He muttered.

"They're gonna kiss again." Hatter snickered.

"Maybe we'll get lucky with a look." White added, making it clear where their attention was. Spade pulled the blanket tighter around her as the kissed, ignoring the other three groaning in complaint.

With her boys at her back—Mikey included—Alice walked through the front door of her home around nine. It was sort of another tradition in her family to get up early so afternoon naps were not unheard of shortly before or after lunch.

The boys carried her packages for her and followed her in after she let herself inside. Everyone was in the living as expected and there would have been tension had she not brought a handful of idiots with her.

"Merry Merry Christmas!" March cheered, setting boxes down under the tree next to many that had already been open.

"Merry Merry!" Hatter sang along. "Oh, once I had a Merry Christmas, that Christmas was today."

Mikey clapped slowly, giving Hatter a sarcastically amused look. "That was beautiful, man."

"Thank you!" Hatter smiled, pulling a cup of tea out of his pocket and handing it to Bubbles.

"There you are tea giver." Bubbles cooed. "Where have you been? I've been needing tea all morning."

Hatter bowed with a flourish, tipping his hat to her in the process. "My apologies."

"He doesn't know how to treat such a Lady." White taunted, setting his boxes down next to March's. "Something smells amazing though."

Alice's parents sat quietly next to her aunt, but it was Angela's trained eye that rested on the ring on her daughter's finger. She raised a brow slowly at Alice who grinned a little in response and held a finger to her lips.

"Where have you been?" Adam sighed, looking more relieved to have her home than anything else.

"Here and there." Alice answered vaguely as she sat with Spade on the only vacant seat in the room. She stared at Trent who sat on the floor with Gena and Douglas, doing his best not to make eye contact with Mikey who was glaring daggers at him from his spot leaning against the wall.

Her father sighed, "Alice."

"Alice, I have one question for you." Bubbles interrupted. "How was it?"

Alice and Spade laughed abruptly, knowing that she was referring to sex under the Christmas tree. Everyone else in the room that wasn't from Wonderland looked confused. It would be a long time before either would be able to look fondly at a Christmas tree without blushing.

"Sounds promising." Bubbles mused happily.

"We could tell you about the aftermath." White offered, and shrank when he caught Spades eye. "Never mind. That punishment isn't worth it."

"You're all too damn strange." Trent muttered, jumping back seconds later when Hatter was crouched in front of him with a scowl in place. This wasn't one of those moments he was worried about personal boundaries.

"Back off." Trent stared back.

Hatter only smirked slowly. "I have placed three dozen active mouse traps around, about, on, in, and under your things. Have fun being increasingly paranoid for the next few days."

"Oh really?" White asked innocently as if he didn't know. "That wasn't a bad idea; I was going to put a snake in his luggage."

"I called Most High!" March added happily, making the others wince.

"You win." Mikey chuckled.

"Mouse traps…" Douglas stared at Trent, giving him a disbelieving look. They were sure in for a surprise when the three of them realized it was far from a joke. Not only had Hatter made trouble among their things there, but in their actual homes.

"Stop causing a fuss. I want my presents so we can eat breakfast." Alice chuckled, just trying to steer the conversation back into safer territory.

"Merry Merry!" Hatter sang, sitting back on his heels, and pulling out practically every piece to a tea set to use.

Bubbles clapped. "Wondrous. I would like a refill."

Henry walked in, wiping his hands on a dishtowel as he took in the crowded living room. None of the family wanted to talk about what happened and Alice seemed to have found her good spot again. "Breakfast in ten." He commented, turning to his granddaughter. His keen gaze had also spotted the ring on her finger. "All right, girlie?"

"I'm fine." Alice beamed. "That's the thing about being upset. These four won't let me. Kind of a pain sometimes."

"Don't give them more of a reason to trail behind you like puppies." Spade smirked, earning scoffs from his Wonderland friends.

"Puppies?" Hatter frowned. "Insult."

"Rabbit." White glared.

"Hare." March pouted, equally offended.

"Queen!"

Everyone in the room nearly jumped out of their skin at the sudden declaration. Standing next to Henry in the door way was Most High, looking stunning as usually. "I am super Queen, bow to me at my will! It's Christmas! Hello! Hello!"

She bound in, tossing packages at all three Wonderland guards, the two that were royalty, and even Mikey. "Christmas cheer! Christmas cheer!" She paused, noticing the tension in the room. "Where the hell is your Christmas cheer? Have it! I demand it!"

"You're nuts." Gena muttered.

"No, I'm Queen. How does one be a nut? That's just weird." Most High mused.

"Hello again dear." Angela said, having met Most High a few times. She wasn't quite sure the girl was all 'there' but she seemed harmless enough.

"Hallo! Tis the season to be jolly and joyous!" she sang. "Come in, come in Little One!"

"I like that song." Bubbles mused.

"It's my favorite!" Most High grinned, noticing Trent and his friends for the first time despite having already exchanged a few words with Gena. "Who are you, why have you not acknowledged me?"

"Most High." March mused, he jabbed his finger at Trent and Most High turned on him like she could pounce at any moment.

"YOU! You little wiener. If I have my screecher here I'd have your ears bleeding." She grabbed him by the collar. "Why are you trying to ruin my Christmas!"

Trent stared, eyes actually going wide. "What?"

"So you're the culprit." Little One mused, leaning against the door frame. Alice and Spade both let out a sigh of relief that the notorious naked Prince had bothered to put clothes on. "My sister has been wanting to have some words with you."

"Words!" Most High agreed. "Jerkface! Jerkface, Jerkyface, and pie. As in, you get no pie!"

"Harsh." Little One muttered.

"You're the brother we've heard so much about?" Adam cleared his throat attempting to get the Club Queen distracted at the very least.

"Uh huh." Little One muttered, not looking particularly interested.

"Don't worry about him. He's almost normal." Mikey grinned, sitting under the tree. "Yay, I found my present."

"Present!" Most High cheered, voice edging on a new amount of glee. "That's what I want." She turned back to Alice's family. "I was a present once, you know. I cocooned myself for three days."

"Hours." Spade interrupted. "More like one hour."

"You keep yourself over there!" Most High demanded, making Alice laugh. She had a way with words that always put her in a better mood. She should have let her deal with Trent to start with.

Alice got up, handing Most High her box from the pile, causing the queen of clubs to squeal and flail her arms with apparent happiness.

"Take it easy." Spade mused, watching as Alice's family stared at the girl as if she had a second head.

Little One had stayed put and Alice carried his gift to him but he met her with a frown, one that steadily deepened.

"What's the matter?" she raised an eye. He held out a hand and she handed him his box but he only scowled. "What's your problem?"

He narrowed his eyes and shoved a hand in his jeans pocket and came back out with a little lime green notebook that had "Most High" written all over it with scribbles across it. In the center it said "Little One's Secret Note Book".

"Secret?" March asked, tilting his head upside down to read the writing.

"I need to know!" Hatter demanded, diving towards Little One who merely took a step to the side to avoid him.

He cleared his throat and flipped a few pages in the note book before he began reading. "October twenty first of this year. Decade Day at Alice's school. It is Spirit week. I came to show my spirit. Instead I was forced to change. I agreed to this in return for a cupcake. Transaction incomplete."

Alice blinked, suddenly knowing exactly what this was about.

Little One stared down at her looking entirely put out. "I never received your end to the bargain. I want my cupcake."

"Oh yeah." Alice muttered. She had agreed to give him a cupcake in return for putting clothes on. But in her defense he had strolled into her school nearly naked and she would have said anything to get him dressed. Silly of her to think he'd forget.

"Don't be a liar, Alice." Little One pouted, still holding his notebook away from Hatter who continued to swipe at it. In retaliation Little One shoved it down the front of his pants. An action that seem to make Hatter hesitate for a moment as he thought of a new strategy.

"Oh right." Mikey chuckled. "I remember that. Nearly gave Winnie a heart attack. Hell, nearly gave Alice a heart attack."

Little One turned to Most High. "Make her give me what i was promised."

"Shhh!" Most High hissed, playing with the DVD player and movies that Mikey and Alice had both chipped in to buy for her. "I'm busy."

Henry clapped Little One on the back. "How about honey pancakes instead? We're about to have breakfast."

"Okay." Little One grinned, snatching his present away from Alice. Problem solved.

"It's a Christmas Miracle!" Mikey laughed, watching Little One and Hatter trail after Alice's grandfather.

"C'mon then." Adam grunted, getting up. "Let's do wave one of breakfast before we open anymore."

"Like that would have worked when all the kids were little." Angela commented, pulling Holly up with her as they walked into the kitchen.

"I love this!" Most High laughed, hugging the DVD box to her chest along with the box set of the PowerPuff girls and her very own copy of a Muppets Christmas Carol. "Christmas is amazing!"

"You kids are rather lovely." Bubbles mused. "I'd love you know what world you're from one day. I'd like to visit it too. Delightful."

Alice and Spade both froze and looked to her grandmother. It was hard to say whether it was just her strange personality peeking through or if she really knew something. Either way, they decided to keep quiet about it.

"World." Douglas muttered, getting up with a yawn. "Ya'll are weird."

"Come eat." Alice sighed, gesturing for everyone to follow the others into the kitchen. "Believe me when I say gramps has probably prepared a breakfast feast."

Mikey nodded, grabbing March and Most High as he went. "It's amazing. He's the best cook in the world, I swear."

Spade got up and kissed Alice's cheek as he moved passed her. It drew a grin from her that she didn't bother to hide. There was no reason to. It wasn't a secret that he could make her go weak at the knees with something as simple as a kiss or smile.

"Alice." Trent muttered, shoving his hands in his pockets. She looked back at him and they let Gena, Bubbles and White leave so they were the only ones left in the room. It was obviously a position neither one really wanted to be in.

It quickly became awkward and he sighed. "Look Alice…" He started, frowning at the way it sounded. They hadn't particularly been close since they were children. There wasn't some golden friendship between them to rekindle or any real sort of affection.

They were cousins. Normal cousins.

"I'm listening." Alice stared, arms crossing. His thoughtless comments had caused her two days of grief she would have done better without.

It took a moment with his stubborn, teenage boy DNA but he raised his head to stare at her finally. "I'm sorry." He grumbled. "I was an asshole."

"I know."

Trent sighed again. "Look, I didn't have the right to spy on you and Spade that night and I really didn't have the right to blab in front of everyone. Even though it was so damn obvious I have trouble believing it was really a surprise."

"Parents see what they want to see. Your mom doesn't see you as a jerk at all." Alice said bluntly.

He winced and nodded. "Okay. Fair enough, but I really didn't mean to chase you from the house. I thought at worse you'd be up in your room for a while and Uncle Adam would calm down because we both know he doesn't know how to punish his princess and Aunt Angela was all on your side to start with. Didn't think they were gonna almost call the cops to file a missing persons report."

Alice chuckled. "Seriously?"

"Yeah." Trent said, "Lucky Mikey called first and told them you were fine. It only got worse again when Spade and his friends came looking. Really worried everyone."

"Worried you?"

He flushed faintly and nodded. "I didn't want to be responsible for you walking into traffic or something."

"Awe, that's sweet." Alice deadpanned. Poor thing really sucked at apologies.

"I just had to say it, okay? We're done now right?" He muttered.

Alice watched him for a moment and it occurred to her that he was actually waiting for her to say he was forgiven. His hopeful look was almost cute. It was nice to see that he wasn't as fully grown as he thought.

"Yeah, we're alright." Alice smiled faintly. "Just don't do it again or I'll do you physical harm."

"I'll remember." He chucked, not looking overly convinced.

"And if you're nice to me until you leave before New Year's, I'll have Hater get rid of all the mouse traps."

Trent gave her a horrified look. "He was serious about that?"

"Oh, hell yeah." Alice chuckled. In all honesty she didn't know, but it definitely sounded like something he would do.

"I'll keep that in mind." Trent muttered, walking out to head for the kitchen with everyone else.

Getting an apology from him wasn't in her plans of holding a grudge for years to come. It was a little frustrating to let that anger go but it was Christmas after all. It would have to earn her brownie points somewhere along down the road.

She looked around the room that was covered in paper, ribbons and new boxes full of gifts and sighed. She'd missed most of it but at least they'd get to reenact it in Wonderland. Christmas part two, as it were. It was something to look forward too.

"You're breakfast will get cold." Spade said, kissing the back of her head and laughing when she jumped. She hadn't heard him come in, but then he always was so damn light on his feet. "Coming?"

"How long have you been back there?"

Spade smiled down at her. "Just a moment. Your father wanted to have a quick word, but I heard you being your Queenly self and forgiving your cousin for upsetting you."

"Dad?" she gave him a horrified look. "What did he say to you?"

"That I have to take care of you, or else." Spade said, looking overly pleased with himself. "As if I had any others plans."

Alice sighed loudly and shut her eyes, leaning against him. "Merry Christmas than. Let's hope all the drama is over with. I can't take it anymore."

Spade nipped at her ear and smiled. "You need a vacation, dear love. You still have some winter break left don't you?"

"Yes. Maybe I do need a vacation, care you take one with me?" Alice smiled wide, kissing him once.

"Always."

"Come on you two." Bubbles said from the door way, a cup of tea still in hand. "You eat breakfast before you start staring down that tree. But I would like to be a great granmma sometimes soon. Can we talk about that?"

"Bubbles…" Alice groaned, going red along with a tight lipped Spade. They'd had enough excitement to last them until New Year's at least…


Thanks for reading!

A/N- Will there be another part…I can say that's is a very strong MAYBE. I had planned there to be one originally but…it did take 9 months to get this one out so….we'll see.

Review central: This is directed towards those to have reviewed The Return Call since it was completed or Spirit Week. Need to say a proper thank you to everyone. If I've missed you…I'm sorry! Let me know. (Some of you might not even remember leaving me the reviews but they're there. I promise.) If you reviewed both then you'll probably appear twice. YAY SHOUT OUTS!

I also might have sent you a PM in response to your review but…..i don't remember…so…here we go, yes?

The Return Call reviews

Charlie-…..so I go back to what should be the first review I left off on and it's you…that amuses me to no end…well buddy, thanks for reading XD Most High couldn't have been done without you! But I beg you...never call him 'Spady wady kins' again…his royal ancestors can't take it. AND I know I'm rude ^_^ It's why we're friends. Thanks for reviewing! Especially when you could have just called me.

SunnySkies-HEY I love looking back at old reviews. Spade does have a way with her parents doesn't he? It's class I tell you. He's got it. XD Thanks for reading. (response to chapter 23)

Nevertakeusforgranted-You and me both…the one shots are a little dry for me too in that respect but the sexual innuendo's are all over the place…lol Thanks so much for reading! (response to chapter 23)

Aya Marie Love- Alas..the end is here….

Micah7/Gabby- hello! (you reviewed a bunch of times and I have no idea if I responded to here we go. Gonna try to hit some of your comments that jump out at me.) I'm glad the story is relatable! Though the dinner scene with her priest…I would have straight up left. Alice has a lot more patience then I do. XD And I know you want to lay down some kind of claim on White…you might have to battle for him. I think he's up for grabs by a few people, and yes, Chessie is insane, but I love him that way. "affairs" is always a funny word in this story. ^_^ thanks for reading.

Random: *hiccups* one of your favorite stories? Really? You're one of my favorite reviewers!

Neyalia Moreko Stephens N.M.S.- I hate cliff hangers too and honestly, I've always felt like I suck at writing them but I totally wait until things are completed before I read them too. ^_^ Sorry about the typo's…I suck…lol…thanks for reviewing!

MagicMilk- (you're name made me giggle) You seem to like all the crazies, that's cool. I'll talk to the Mad Hatter and see if he'll come steal stuff at your birthday party. Kay?

HerLadyship- Who's not a Spade fan…really…he's awesome. And so are you, thanks for the review.

Aradia Cloud- I'd like to say…holy crap. It's rare I get someone at the end that reviews every chapter. I can't tell you how happy it makes me. Giddy….giddy…..gonna hit some main points from your reviews so we're not here all day. Mikey I think is an awesome guy friend, I sure could use him some days. YES! You're intuition is awesome! Or Taylor's just a jerk…both can be true. IT WAS YOU! I knew there was someone in love with Hatter…I swear, people keep trying to steal my boys. I'm sorry, I can't have Hatter married yet, I still need him. (you're not the first to suggest a harem to me, XD) …..brothers in arms…that comment made my day…both when I read it the first time and just now…you know…I thought someone would have to die but…I didn't like that so I worked around it ^_^….I was mooching off Wonderland…totally…Hatter, White, and March now live in my head…you know how hard it is to work with them in there? Thanks so much for reviewing with style and enthusiasm!

QuirkyGurl- I'm glad ^_^ they do that to me too.

Mel- hey, hey, hey. Thanks for reading! And I know…my grammar is….horrid. That's what happens when I don't have the patience to edit and I write at 2a.m. you know? Thanks for…dealing with it. XD and in response you your one review….they WERE only raising one eye brow, it was a WTF look. ..well..usually it was…lol.
Nightmareparade- THIS IS A SEQUEL! XD..thanks for reading.

KoriLee123- one night...you must have the record. I love when people say they can read this over and over again. Goal met! ^_^ thanks so much for reading.

F.H.W-Wondrous! XD thanks! It means a lot. Hope you enjoy the sequels, however..short they are..^_^

Spirit Week reviews

Poprocks- Thanks for reviewing! You know…they're might be one more…who knows…

Queen Charlie- you again? XD hey there Queeny. Titles are for squares. You and Most High don't need that.

Magicmilk- that's funny, I laughed, cried and nearly passed out writing it. XD thanks for reading.

Aya Marie Love- IT WAS FOR YOU! Hello my delighted fan. I've missed you..see what happened when I don't write Alice? Very sad…it's been so long. I'm pleased that my imagination entertains you still!

Aradia Cloud- Hello again my dear Aradia! I love the excitement. I really do. I hope it met your expectations.

Nightmareparade- XD holy crap you really want a sequel. I was sure I'd butcher any attempt I would have an a proper sequel, hence the one shots. Hope they're at least a little satisfying.

Rebekah00710- thank you! I try really hard at being original and I think I suck at it. Nice to you know you like the stories. Thanks for reviewing.

KoriLee123- XD I've told this to a few people, but you're gonna have to fight for the boys…people keep trying to kidnap them and take them from me. If you want more I'm gonna need to keep them though. Thanks for reading!

F.H.W- March loves being adorable (the damn manipulator) and Alice and Spade really are each other's match. You never had Spirit Week? We really had this in my school. Costime day was by far my favorite. It changed every year though…the days…one year we had old people day…everyone walking funny with a cane or walker…balloons down the down the first and all..you know? XD good time…good time…Thanks for reading!

Thanks everyone.