Just like every other respectable establishment in Wonderland, Hatter's teashop closed every day whenever Time put the sun down again. Of course, that meant that he could have stayed open for weeks at a time—by his clock. Not that his "loyal" patrons would have minded. None of the men and women who frequented his shop seemed to lead other, separate lives. The forums and trades that went on within Hatter's walls were the dim spark of life for these people, and the only excitement they were able to attain in this Depression was poured neatly into glass bottles. Aside from this, the bidding, the competition, the skeevy, under-the-table transfers that Hatter forced himself to turn a blind eye too, they were nothing. All of them, whether they had at one point had families, friends, rivals, were transformed into ugly shadows of their former selves. When the shop closed, all they had to return to were the rocks they hid under, to wait for the night to end and the sun to rise with Time once more.

Ushering the last, contentment-drunk young man out the door by his shoulders, Hatter hoped that this night would be a long one. His pocket watch read almost a month since he'd last closed, and his bones ached with the strain of it. "G'bye, Mr. Hatter," the young man smiled his words into a visible steam of artificial happy. It smelled a bit like bad eggs. All Hatter could bring himself to do was nod and give the kid an encouraging—if not a little forceful-shove past the threshold. The door closed with a click; Hatter turned and leaned heavily against it as his fingers groped blindly for the lock.

"Dormie!" he called to the end of the room where the announcer's podium stood.

When they had first started out, Dormie was never intended to just stand there the entire time. He was supposed to go up, make the short quips that the Queen required he make, and then retire to…wherever it was that a Doormouse retired to. Then, Hatter found it too difficult to stay in the main room for longer than an hour a day, and Dormie had to take over the supervision of the enthusiastic patrons. Quickly, he'd become accustomed to making the morning announcement and then falling prey to his narcoleptic tendencies right there at the stand. The idea had initially alarmed the Hatter, but as it turns out, people stayed in line better whether or not the person responsible for them was conscious.

"Dormie!" he snapped again. Grasping the deadbolt, Hatter turned it into place and pushed himself up off the doorframe. "Wake the hell up, you massive tea cozy!"

Doormouse roused with a grunt and a snort. "Twinkle, twinkle," he said urgently, "little bat."

"Of course, of course." Hatter lifted his hat so that he could wipe the sweat from his brow. "Look, I've got some shipment things to deal with in my office, so I'll leave cleanup to you tonight, if you don't mind. Feel free to take the jerky to our friends. It isn't much, but there's more on the way."

With a nod, the stout, little man clambered down from the podium. "I'll see you when the sun rises," Dormie stated lightly.

The moment he was inside of his office, boots pressed firmly in the soft soil, Hatter locked the door and ran a hand over his face. He flipped his hat idly in his fingers and sighed. He didn't have "shipment things" to deal with, and he was fairly certain that Dormie knew better. Teashops had nothing official about them. When the suits brought more teas to sell, they pretty much dropped them off and let the shop owner deal with them. True, he did have a few people to call about the stuff he was smuggling for the resistance, but that could wait. That had to wait. Everything just had to wait because Hatter was slipping—sliding, cracking, breaking.

Monotony was the Queen's deadliest weapon on people like that Hatter. He wasn't sure how much longer he could do this; every day the same thing, the same sad people, the same infuriating sameness. His head ached with an urge for just a little bit of fun, a little thrill. He was going to break down into the quivering sobs of a madman if he didn't get some relief.

As quick as he could manage on his tired limbs, he stomped through the flower bed and over the grass to his desk. Among the clutter of tea cups, pots and saucers, he found nothing but leftover scones and crumbs from a tea party long past. Grunting unhappily, he continued on, to the back wall where he kept his merchandise stored. He shuffled through the bottles with impatience, trying to find what he was looking for. It wasn't there though. Serenity, Contentment, Glee, Giddiness, Passion, Lust…where the hell was Excitement?

"Damn it," he muttered, frustrated. "Where are you?"

"Lookin' for this?"

Hatter stopped cold, fear lacing down his spine with cold ties that kept him still. Every little hair and nerve on his body stood at attention; he knew who was behind him. The amused, playful levity was unmistakable. Once the shock faded, Hatter managed to smile lightly to quell his racing heart so that he could turn around. Sure enough, sitting, swinging from side to side in Hatter's comfy chair, was Mad March.

They had met a few times before—whenever the Queen called for Hatter's presence the assassin tended to be standing close at hand. Then, there were the instances when it was purely circumstance or when one sought out the other. It was an easy game they played—deadly, but easy. March knew about Hatter's involvement in the resistance; or at least, he had a damn strong suspicion. However, instead of ratting him out to the Queen and getting him killed, March used the knowledge to fuel a sinister rivalry. The rules were usually quite simple. Run.

Standing there, in what he'd thought was the safety of his office, staring at the one man in Wonderland that threatened his life, Hatter took a harsh swallow. Gripped in the assassin's left hand was the missing bottle of pink nectar, and in his right…

"Yeah, I am," he croaked quietly.

With a light chuckle, March raised his thin-bladed switch-knife and stood. He had that gleeful look in his eye, the one he usually had when he was in the middle of a chase. This was when Hatter was supposed to run. Every other time they ran into each other, March made it very clear the these he might do to the shop owner if he caught him. The knowledge invigorated the Hatter, kept him moving through the alleys and along the city walls. That was the game: don't slow down, don't ever stop. The handful of times that he'd been snagged on the street, he'd ended up with more bruised than unmarred skin and several superficial wounds. But Hatter's office, that was home base—safe zone. When he got here, the Hatter had won. Now, March was standing, violating his private quarters. This, Hatter was pretty sure, constituted as cheating.

"What do you—?"

March stepped right up into his space and raised the knife level with Hatter's face. "You can have it back."

After a beat, the assassin lifted the bottle as well and put it just within the Hatter's reach. When the he went to grab it, though, March pulled it away and pressed the blade into his cheek. "You can have it back," he repeated, laughing lightly, "if ya tell me where the resistance hides out."

At that, Hatter could have laughed, probably would have if it had been anyone else holding him at knife point. As it were, it wasn't. He scoffed. "Even if I did know, you really think I would give up all those people over a half grub of Excitement? You really are mad." For effect, he put on a snide smirk and propped his hands on his hips.

It was unsettling, that March's smile didn't so much as flicker. "I figured as much. You've keep your trap shut about it this long, why start singin' now? Huh, little bird?"

Every word brought his face infinitesimally closer to Hatter's. It was getting to the point where was awkward, if not uncomfortable. Hatter was getting a bit cagey with this closeness. "Then what's the big idea, eh?" he snapped, fear taken over by a strong wave of annoyance. "Give it back!" Once again he reach for the bottle and March pulled it out of his reach. "Damn you."

The movement was so abrupt and so natural that Hatter had barely registered that he'd done it until his right fist was swinging as hard as he could make it. Apparently he'd even aimed without thinking. Before he knew it, he was almost dead on for a knockout strike. That is, he was until March decided to ruin it by making one of those lightning fast movements and ducking out of the way. Just like that, March grabbed his wrist tightly and forced his own arm against his throat. Hatter felt his back slam into the clear shelves and took a moment to pray that nothing broke.

"See, Hatter, the thing is…" His breath was hot on the shop owner's face. "…the bottle is mine now. But if you was willin' to reimburse me for it, I'll sell it back to ya."

And really, that should have been Hatter's last warning to just give it up. The look glaring down at him from March's staggering height should have served as a last blockade keeping him from doing something stupid. Seriously, the tiny amount left over in that bottle wasn't enough excitement to get him to that high for more than an hour; it really wasn't worth it.

Then again…the suits had already been by recently, so the chance of him getting more of Excitement by the time he needed it again was slim to none. Swallowing hard, Hatter schooled his expression and relaxed in the man's punishing grip. "What kind of reimbursement?"

It was silent for a few moments, March's smile stretching wider and wider until it split his face a bit grotesquely. Hatter's pounding heart seemed to be the only thing moving in the whole room. He could feel it in his ears and down to the bottoms of his feet like a hot blush all over his body. The way March was looking at him, it was almost predatory—teeth bared in a triumphant, hungry grin, eyes scanning Hatter's entire body with short, objectifying glances. Hatter couldn't hold back his uncomfortable squirm, which seemed to please the assassin to no end.

Finally, March moved. He placed the Excitement down on the shelf behind Hatter and then reached further for something else. When he leaned over, Hatter got a strong whiff of him—he smelled of earth. It wasn't unpleasant, a dusty, almost spicy smell, like an old book that's been opened for the first time in centuries. Underneath that was the unmistakable smell of masculinity, one that was and ever would be significant to March. Once the man pulled back, he displayed his find—a small bottle with a deep, dark burgundy liquid in it. A shiver ran down Hatter's spine when he read the label. Lust.

Being deathly afraid and running for your life is not so different a feeling than writhing on soft, cotton sheets in a fit of carnal need.

Hatter was naked, face down on his sheets with his wrists bound together and up around the headboard with the maroon fabric of his necktie. After three drops of Lust had began to take effect, March had no problem dragging the shop owner along into the side room where he slept and then manhandling him down onto the bed. Every single touch, no matter how slight or rough, sent Hatter's sensitive flesh into quivers and shakes. It was amazing and terrifying how absolutely out of control he was. While he still seemed to have the presence of mind to struggle against letting a known homicidal maniac tie him down, when March gripped a purposeful hand over Hatter's steadily growing erection, all was lost.

"Mmmmm," Hatter moaned desperately into the pillow his head had been shoved in. The muscles of his arms were straining helplessly, pulled as taught as possible by March's unruly grip on his hips.

One of his legs kicked out uselessly, trying to either connect with March's thigh in a way to cause him pain, or spread himself further open for the thick fingers thrusting in and out of his body. This was all too fast, too much. Each push in wrenched a loud cry from Hatter's dry throat. When occasionally March would brush a spot inside him that sent barbs of pleasure all the way to his fingertips, he would curse loudly and the dry scrape of the spit-slickened digits felt almost like sandpaper.

"Damn you," Hatter whimpered on the withdraw.

Immediately, March released his hip and tangled his fingers into the dark spike of hair on his head, pulling tight. "Say it again," he insisted gently.

The Hatter opened his mouth, but he was cut off. His head was yanked back, stretching his throat tight. Gasping, he tugged weakly at his binds. "Oh, oh, damn…fuck, fuck!" Another brush of his prostate had his bucking back onto March's hand.

"Like that, then?"

March sped up his rhythm, increasing the force with which he fucked into the shop owner. It melded all of Hatter's short cries and moans into one long, drawn out groan, punctuated only by each thrust of March's fingers.

Scrambling helplessly, Hatter tried to figure out what he was supposed to do. Like this, his arms were useless, he could barely move. All his body would do was bend his knees or buck his hips, trying to increase the friction on his long-forgotten cock. If he tried to pull away or draw his legs together, March grabbed him and yanked him flat again, powerless to stop any of this. And yet, that was strangely arousing. Hatter had never allowed himself to be so vulnerable in his life. Just held open and fucked like this was doing marvelous things to his libido. At first he tried to tell himself that it was just the tea doing this to him, making him need everything that March had to offer, but really…no, he just wanted more.

With a deep, throaty chuckle, March leaned forward, lips just inches from Hatter's ear. "More? Kinda demanding for a fucktoy, ain't ya?"

A deep, rosy flush washed over the shop owner's face and down his shoulers. All he could do was whimper in response because really? What did someone say to stupid question like that? What the hell kind of freak was this guy? Still, it just added to the building pressure in his belly. The casual dismissal of his wants and needs hit him deep in his core.

"You should ask me nicely," March singsonged against the Hatter's throat. "If you beg pretty enough, maybe I'll let you come."

"Ooh damn it." If he kept this up, Hatter was going to come anyway. In fact…he angled his hips and pushed up into the thrust. Goodness, he was almost there, just a little bit

"NO! Fuck you fuck you fuck you!"

March had pulled his hips up, slid a hand underneath and gripped mercilessly at the base of his erection. The action stopped Hatter's orgasm in its tracks. Heaving deep breaths, he yanked viciously on the tie, struggling so that he could get free and beat this bastard to a bloody pulp. "Damn you, you evil bastard."

"We ain't here right now for your enjoyment, we're here for mine." The way March said it made the Hatter feel like he was being reprimanded—like a child, scolded for taking food from the table before the guests did. "Ya know how to ask nicely, don't you? Say 'please.'"

March's hand had slowed almost to a stop, barely pulsing in or out, and Hatter couldn't move right to push back on it. It nagged at him, scrambled up his spine like goose pimples. Getting free was impossible, getting off even more so unless he bit his dignity and did as he was told. Dismal tears filled his eyes from the almost painful sensation of being unfulfilled. Putting his head down, he sighed into the pillow.

"Please," he mumbled.

The fingers inside of his twitched. "What was that?"

Squeezing his eyes shut, clenching his fists, Hatter tossed his head to the side and spoke louder. "Please," he said, "please give me more."

Voicing a satisfied hum, March moved his fingers deeper once more, this time stroking intently over that sweet spot. It sent sharp quakes through Hatter's body, made him pant for breath. "Mmm, please give me more," he repeated, voice higher and more strained. Suddenly, his body was back to the build up again, elevated onto that high platform—if only he could jump off. "Please, more. Let me…let me…please, ngh!"

"That's more like it, boy. You want more?"

"Yes!" Was that not obvious?


Hatter was very confused and vastly disappointed when March drew his fingers out and let go of him completely. He even got up off of the bed. Did I do something wrong? What if he just leaves him here? Alarmed, the Hatter twisted awkwardly, trying to see behind him. Just as fast as he'd been gone, though, March pounced back onto the mattress, yanking Hatter over onto his back.

Before Hatter could voice a protest to the rough handling—though it would have been more on principle than actual complaint—March's mouth sealed over his in an overpowering, breath-taking kiss. Hatter was only vaguely aware of his legs being pulled up, propped over March's shoulders. The kiss was all-consuming, taking up every inch of mental capacity the poor man had to spare. He felt utterly claimed, thoroughly marked, just by the clack of their teeth and the unrelenting push of March's tongue along his molars. Quickly, he was losing air, going lightheaded, and he didn't really care. Then, when March's hand wrapped around his throat, his back arched and his mouth went slack at the massive intrusion pressing into him.

March wasn't gentle. He pinned the Hatter down and fucked into him with firm, hard strokes; and then he gripped tight around his throat until he couldn't hear him breathe. "Take it," he snapped harshly, "don't wanna hear another sound out of you."

It quickly stopped hurting so much as it forced Hatter completely open, wider than he would have thought possible. Oh, he had never done this before, never even dreamed of it. And now he felt like he was dreaming because he couldn't breathe. March's pistoning hips moved the entire bed, stabbed mercilessly into that pleasure point over and over again, and Hatter couldn't even cry out. Working his jaw, trying to loosen the vice around his windpipe, the only sounds he was making were choppy, garbled noises every time March stabbed in and out and in and out of him. Tears fell freely down his face, and he was going higher and higher.

The end came and it was earth-moving and devastating. Hatter came in thick, hot bursts that spilled out onto his bare stomach, and he did it without so much as a gentle touch to his cock. And then, he passed out.

It must have been several hours later when Hatter finally came to. The window was still darkened by night, but he felt sure that he'd slept a very long time. He couldn't really be sure because Time could very well have stopped when he was out. Time was always doing silly things like that. So he just didn't linger on it, his head hurt too bad. It was like he'd taken too much Elation before he went to bed. Groaning softly, he tried to turn onto his side.

Quickly he realized that he couldn't move very well because his arms were still bound together above his head. "The hell?" he questioned, voice slurring just a little.

"I caught you."

Hatter didn't have to look, really didn't. He knew that voice like he knew his right hand, threatening and deceptively plain. All the little aches and pains came to the surface and he almost gasped with the force of it. A ring of bruises around his throat pulsed, and when he shifted his legs just a little, there was that tell-tale sting in his backside. Goodness, what had he done? He had an inkling, a nagging little idea, but he needed to be sure. Carefully, he turned his head.

Sure enough, Mad March was sitting, fully dressed, prim as ever, in one of the chairs pulled up to Hatter's breakfast table. He twirled the tip of his knife over the wood, idly digging a groove into the smooth surface. Hatter tried not to let that bother him.

"You cheated," he shot back.

The smile he got was dirty, downright feral, and heaven help him if he wasn't still riding the aftershocks of three drops of Lust. Sharp, white teeth glinted with an unnamed promise; the sight of it made Hatter just a little hotter. He tried not to make his uncomfortable squirm too obvious. Of course, to an assassin's trained eye, he would have been better off not to move at all. They stared at each other, Hatter's furious glare overcompensating for the fact that he felt nervous and exposed. On the other hand, March still had that expression that he saw something absolutely delicious and was deciding the best way to eat it. Hatter's skin reddened and he had to look away.

"Just going sit there and stare?"

"Yeah, it's workin' pretty good for me so far." Smart ass, Hatter thought. "'Sides, I kinda like seein' you like this…you weren't exactly complaining when I had my finger—"

"Shut it!"

There was that deep, amused chuckle again; the one that sounded like hot tea laced with rat poison. With a high squeak of the chair, March stood and walked over to the bedside. That damn smile he had on his face, stupid, toothy, shit-eating grin; Hatter wanted to punch it clean off. As if for a reminder that he couldn't, the assassin leaned down and brush teasing fingers over the necktie that was digging in to the Hatter's flesh. The gentle contrast was odd and unwelcome. Hatter's fingers twitched.

March leaned down, pressed his lips against the dent just behind the shop owner's jaw. When Hatter shivered, the assassing smiled. "You should quit actin' as if ya don't like it," he hissed against his skin, "You could stop if you wanted, but you don't. We're an even match, you and I."

"You don't know…mmmm…what you're talking about."

Dragging light fingers over the Hatter's chest, he tweaked his nipples sharply. "That right hand of yours could end me some day, if you'd just use it right. But I know ya won't. You like the abuse." He pinched the little pink bud between two fingers so hard that Hatter's body jerked. "Otherwise ya wouldn't let me catch ya at all."

The shop owner blushed, a deep crimson, over his face and down his shoulders. He felt so exposed, lying naked at this dangerous man's mercy, but he couldn't help how hot it made him. Desperately, he looked away—somewhat ashamed and uncertain.

"Maybe next time," March went on, coyly, "we can skip the tea and I'll give ya what ya want when it's really you that wants it." With another pinch to Hatter's abused nipple—one that made the man cry out in pain—March stood and backed away. He reached into his jacket and pulled out that familiar bottle, reddish purple liquid sloshing gently against the sides. "If not, then I'll just keep this with me."

"Wait!" Hatter called because the bastard had turned around, was heading towards the door. What the hell did he think he was doing? "You can't just leave me here like this! March!"

"Seeya tomorrow, Hatter."

The door shut with a sharp slam. Tomorrow? Hatter thought nervously. That could be days!


~~~~~~~~ Back to Alice ~~~~~~~~



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