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Ozland, mid-afternoon. Open to Hatter.
Being off-duty was a blessed thing. Knave had the whole day to himself in fact, and had spent some of it in the company of a young lady at court. she had that sweet quiet innocence about her, and he'd flirted with her to abstraction. But as things go in court she got called away, and Knave found himself looking for another way to occupy his time.

He stopped home first, picked himself up something to eat that he knew wouldn't alter him in anyway and set back out again. It was interesting to see the blend of peoples who'd been living in Ozland before the Queen took over and brought with here the slew of Wonderland inhabitants. Knave honestly wasn't even sure how many of them had come along for the ride. It was as though every day he was meeting someone else from Wonderland he hadn't know had tagged along. Like that damn Cheshire cat. Finishing the party he'd been eating, knave brushed off his hands. Time to find some sort of entertainment in this odd place.

Tags: mad hatter, knave of hearts

From: [info]as_a_hatter Date: 08/22/2007 11:46:39  

Ozland. Ozland? That didn't make sense. What had happened to Wonderland?

Hatter preferred Wonderland. It implied that things were wonderful. A wonder. Full of wonder, no less. In the whole land. What was Oz? Oztastic? Oztacular? Ozful? Hatter shuddered at the thought of being "full of oz". It didn't seem like something pleasant.

Ozland. Ozzzzzland. Hatter tried saying it aloud, but kept losing himself in the 'z' sound, thinking he was a bumble bee. After a short but embarrassing encounter with a patch of daisies, he gave up. His nose was covered in pollen anyway. It was itchy.

Without consulting his brain, his feet decided to go for a walk. Of course his brain was occupied in other matters (like trying to warn his fellow bees from the ornery daisy), so Hatter was pulled along in the action. When his eyes caught up and consulted with his memory, they established that the feet were bloody terrible navigators who had gotten the lot of them terribly lost.

He couldn't recognize anything. This should have been the road into town, by way of the Duchess' house, but instead, Hatter could see a city in the distance - one shining and green. The road under his feet was laid out in yellow brick.

He wondered for a few moments about that, and how the brick stayed yellow even after his dirty boots had traipsed across them. But then a figure - a human-shaped one at that! - was nearby, and Hatter jumped to attention.

"Excuse me!" he said. "Someone changed the scenery and stole my proper road. Where is the local law enforcement?"
From: [info]stolethetarts Date: 08/22/2007 11:51:00  

"I am the local law enforcement," Knave responded and looked to see form whom the voice had come. it sounded familiar-

Oh hells. "You. Hatter." They were all just coming out of the woodwork, weren't they? "What - or whom - are you looking for?" He didn't expect a straight answer; you couldn't get one of those out of the man, ever. But maybe he could point him someplace before he drove Knave mad of his own accord.
From: [info]as_a_hatter Date: 08/22/2007 11:59:37  

"I'm trying to find--" Hatter stopped, blinked, and stared at the... rather... large... man.

Oh, for the love of tea.

"Hello, Mister Of Hearts, sir!" Hatter somehow managed to squeak out. The whole issue of a trial, the Knave accused of stealing tarts (what a vile crime! Almost as bad as stealing SCONES!), and Hatter himself brought in to testify. Which he hadn't done very well.

"Looking?" His voice was still pathetically nervous. Hatter tugged at the collar of his shirt. "Um. I... someone stole..." He blinked, trying to remember. Then he looked down. "My footprints. They're gone." He pointed to the ground, where the muddy prints of his boots had vanished from the yellow bricked road. "I didn't say they could leave." Now how would he ever find his way home?
From: [info]stolethetarts Date: 08/22/2007 12:06:08  

"You're looking for your footprints." Knave crossed his arms and looked down at Hatter. "Do you need them? To find your way?" It wasn't hard to think like some of Wonderland's natives. Just pick an odd train of thought to follow and it was likely the right one.

Knave considered himself one of the most sane people in all of Wonderland. And possibly Ozland. Which just made him stand out even more, to be honest. But years of experience made it none to hard to think like the mad creatures he was sadly accustomed. Hatter at the moment, was showing rae moments of lucidity. For him at least. Could be the fact that Knave was so damn imposing.
From: [info]as_a_hatter Date: 08/22/2007 12:15:36  

Hatter blinked. And stared in horror. "My footprints stole my way??"

Oh, this was terrible! A look of utter defeat crossed the Mad Hatter's face, and he sat down on the bricks.

That was it. He'd lost his way. Damned footprints. They'd never give it back. Unless they asked for ransom. What ransom did he have? Tea. And the dust kitty collection under his sofa. Ack! The dust kitties! Of course!

But he'd never be able to GET to the precious kitties if he didn't have his way!

Maybe... maybe he could find some new ones! And trick those pesky footprints into a hostage exchange. But to find dust kitties...

"Do you have a broom?"
From: [info]stolethetarts Date: 08/22/2007 12:22:00  

Knave grinned. He couldn't help it. Teasing Hatter when he was in one of these moods was too easy. "Nope, sorry, they wandered off. They followed a large mouse in a red robe and blue hat. They took a load of buckets with them too. Dunno where they all went though. Your footprints might come back on their own you know. Maybe they're just having fun."
From: [info]as_a_hatter Date: 08/22/2007 12:30:51  

Hatter grasped the brim of his hat with both hands, tugging it low on his head. "It's a conspiracy!" His eyes were wide, and he was nearly bouncing in his panic. "Y-y-you! You're the law! Why... don't..."

Hatter whimpered. Even in this state, he wasn't quite excitable enough to tell Knave to do something. Or even suggest that he should.

Conspiracy! First his footprints, now the brooms! And the buckets! They were after him! Why? WHY? He'd always stayed out of the way, been careful, not--

Hatter's hands dropped to his sides as his jaw fell open. "It's her fault!" he stammered, suddenly furious. "With those... perfectly sized blue eyes, and that... narrow waist... thin wrists..." His anger was dissipating as he went on with his list. "Her... fault." He didn't seem quite as fired up anymore, but the blame was still there. Still just as tragic.
From: [info]stolethetarts Date: 08/22/2007 12:46:42  

Now Knave was curious. Who the hell was he planning to blame for this? "Whose fault? Whose fault is it, Hatter?" He didn't bother to seem sympathetic; he just wanted to know what the Hatter was babbling baout this time.
From: [info]as_a_hatter Date: 08/22/2007 13:01:36  

Oh, shit. Hatter suddenly became very, very interested in his fingernails.

Had he mentioned her by name? Hatter couldn't remember. Damn and bollocks.

"Nothing." There was a faint, pale spark of hope that the negative would be enough.
From: [info]stolethetarts Date: 08/22/2007 13:04:31  

Knave moved closer to him, arms akimbo now, eyes serious. "Who are you talking about Hatter? Tell me. Perhaps I can get you a broom after all." Odd bribery. Or better yet, "Have you tried some of the teas in the city yet?"
From: [info]as_a_hatter Date: 08/22/2007 13:13:10  

Hatter flinched at the mention of teas. Teas? In the city? New teas?

He shut his eyes, squeezing them tightly. No, no, no! Be strong! He was her slave now, he'd promised his loyalty, he'd sworn!

....sworn... what, now? Something regarding a hostile takeover.

One eye pried itself open, looking at Knave. "There's... new tea?"
From: [info]stolethetarts Date: 08/22/2007 13:17:33  

Knave grinned. "There are plants around Ozland that we never saw in Wonderland. Plants with leaves that would make for some wonderful tea, I'd bet. Why, with woods one way and jungles the other, can you imagine how many different kinds of teas there must be here? Of course I haven't gotten to try too many myself. I'm not a tea connoisseur, sad to say."

But Hatter was. Hatter was obsessed with tea, wasn't he? "You really should try them, Hatter."
From: [info]as_a_hatter Date: 08/22/2007 13:45:10  

Hatter nibbled at his lower lip. "Fermented, do you think?" he asked. "Some of these types might oxidize well. Between the rolling and the firing. But not many leaves are tolerant enough for black tea. And the non-fermented teas use usually a bit sweeter, but if they don't work it just right, the oxidation process can sap away all the flavor."

Hatter was wringing his hat in his hands. "Then again, you could just dry out the leaves and skip the rolling. Turns them a bit yellow, but preserves more of the flavor. Also, if you find the right buds, you can pick and dry them directly. There's not many leaves you can do that with, but when you find the right ones..." He licked his lips. "Mmm. Divine."

He looked from one side of the road to the other. "You ought to try it," Hatter commented. "There are teas for every mood, every time of day, ever type of weather, every reason. Before my clock broke, I could tell the time by what tea was right for the air temperature."
From: [info]stolethetarts Date: 08/22/2007 13:51:58  

Knave quite literally stopped listening to Hatter after the word oxidize. In fact he merely waited for a moment when the man had stopped to breathe to say, "It's not easy to find the places they sell tea here. At least not any tea that won't wind up shrinking you, making you grow, or turning you some odd color."

He looked down at him again. "I could probably show you someplace. But I do wish I knew who you were talking about just now."
From: [info]as_a_hatter Date: 08/22/2007 14:03:27  

Hatter took a breath, parting his lips to first go on about the tea, or second to plea for a location.

But his lips closed firmly again at Knave's last words. Could he give the name? It was just a name. And Knave couldn't know what Alice's plans were. Hatter didn't have to tell him that.

Ugh. This was almost too much for his poor mercury-addled brain. Hatter was starting to have the damnedest time keeping track of the conversation. He scrunched up his jaw, trying to decide. "Tea first," he said, quite sure in that demand. Even if he wasn't sure at all about saying it to Knave. But tea was tea.
From: [info]stolethetarts Date: 08/22/2007 14:11:29  

"Follow me, Hatter. I'll show you where." But he most certainly wouldn't let the man have the tea until he had a name. He wasn't certain this was at all important. Probably not, considering who the information was coming from. but it never hurt to be cautious.
From: [info]as_a_hatter Date: 08/22/2007 14:31:47  

Hatter hesitated, took a few steps, jumped back, and then started to follow. Within a few moments, he grew bored (a record for him!) and started darting in and out of the trees that lined their walk, rolling in the grasses. A simple beat escaped him - something he had heard while on his travels in that... other world... that seemed fitting.

"Dun dun, ba-DUN, dun dun, da-dum. Doo doo dooooo, doo doo doooo, doo doo doooo, da dum!"

Oh! A butterfly!
From: [info]stolethetarts Date: 08/22/2007 14:39:34  

Knave was entirely certain he was the only creature in Ozland that could focus. The damned Hatter was hopping around as madly as his name suggested, and Knave rolled his eyes. "This way, Hatter," he said, leading them back into the city itself, where shops dotted the streets. "You do want the tea don't you?"
From: [info]as_a_hatter Date: 08/22/2007 14:50:27  

The butterfly had fluttered out of reach when Knave approached. Bollocks. Hatter could have used more butter for his scones.

Hatter reached under his hat and withdrew a net. With a look of concentration, he swung it at the butterfly, and would have caught it had it not been so warm out. The netting passed through the warm butter, and the winged stick of butter fluttered away for it's life.

Hatter was just starting to pout when Knave reminded him of the magic word. "Oh! Tea!" He snapped smartly to attention, but then stared at the shining city, eyes wide. Oh no. How was he going to stay focused with all the shiny new things all over the place?

"Tea," he said again. "That's how. Tea. Lovely tea. Black tea, red tea, green tea, not like Christmas tea, Christmas tea is black tea with peppermint, oolong tea and herbal tea, and new teas to try! Where is the new tea? I can smell it!"

Indeed he could. The scent of it was slight, but Hatter could have accurately guessed every flavor that was assaulting his nostrils, amid the scent of people and horses and cloth and meat and fruit and everything else so apparent in this shiny green city.
From: [info]stolethetarts Date: 08/22/2007 15:04:44  

Knave watched Hatter for a moment and then just continued onward. Honestly at this point he rather expected the man to wander off into the city, and Knave wasn't sure he'd mind if he did. Whoever he'd been talking about - assuming it was even important - surely Knave didn't need to go to these lengths to find out.

He was sure the queen would want to know. Bitch wanted to know everything. Knave withheld information whenever he could out of sheer spite. Likely no matter the turnout of this, it'd be kept from the queen as well. He certainly hadn't done a thing to warn her the Cheshire Cat was still around. Knave turned down one street, heading toward where he remembered seeing a shop whose pastries actually had no effect on his size. "This way."
From: [info]as_a_hatter Date: 08/23/2007 12:42:47  

Hatter had stopped paying attention again. He'd spotted a horse. Not just any horse. This horse was green. Perfectly green, from the tip of its nose to the tip of its tail. Shamrock green. He stopped in the middle of the road, staring, as the horse and buggy passed across his field of vision, and out of sight down a different road.

Um. Okay. That was worth seeing again.

Hatter started walking in that direction, hurrying a bit to catch up with the buggy, and wasn't watching where he was going. He found himself lying on his arm, one leg in the air, with a short man in a brilliant blue suit under his other leg.

"Hey, watch it!" said the Munchkin.

Hatter blinked. "I was trying to!" he said, attempting to disentangle himself from the man's coat, which for some reason was embroidered with large, colorful lollipops. "Why'd you get stuck to my leg?!"
From: [info]stolethetarts Date: 08/24/2007 11:48:23  

Bringing himself to call out to Hatter again was not an easy thing to do. In fact, Knave didn't bother. He did follow, a little ways to see what trouble the man would get himself into.

He didn't have to wait long. The kerfluffle with the horse and the Munchkin had Knave's eyebrows rising skyward, and an amused smile on his lips.

The Hatter was probably well distracted from their mission now, and Knave wondered whether he should bother to go and remind him once again. For the time being he opted to watch the Hatter try to get himself out of this mess.
From: [info]as_a_hatter Date: 08/28/2007 12:25:29  

"Whaddaya mean, stuck?" said the Munchkin, extracting himself from the Hatter's legs and standing up, hands on his hips. "You makin' fun of my lollipops?"

Hatter was still on the ground, holding himself up with one arm, and was amazed that he was eye-level with the man. He furrowed his brow, immediately forgot what the man was yelling about, and said, "Wow. You should try the other side of the mushroom for a while."

The munchkin looked confused. "Huh?"

Hatter nodded. "Other side. You probably weren't eating it, or you'd be smaller. Did you smoke it?" Smoking it might cause that sort of effect.

"Smoking mushrooms?" The munchkin looked horrified. "What's wrong with you?"

Hatter considered this question carefully. He was quiet long enough that the munchkin was looking uncomfortable. Then he took a deep breath. "My footprints have stolen my way, a mouse has run off with all the brooms, I'm terribly lost, I've been made a slave to the most beautiful and wicked tea murderess in all of Wonder-- Ozland, I lost the horse, the dust kitties will never be in order if I don't get home, I haven't had a cup of tea in two hours, thirteen minutes, and thirty-seven seconds, I think I have scuffed my pants... and mercury poisoning."

Silence descended on the street. Plenty of residents of the Emerald City had stopped to see the proceedings, but no one seemed to know what to say to all this. Least of all, the munchkin. Afer a moment, he adjusted his vest, shuffled his feet, and said, "Watch where you're going next time," before turning and walking off.
From: [info]stolethetarts Date: 08/29/2007 09:43:20  

Knave was entirely prepared to step in if the scuffle got out of control - it was his job, even off duty. But the Munchkin preempted any sort of altercation be making a retreat. Knave stepped out from where he'd been standing, and teh crowd started to disperse. He looked down at the Hatter and shook his head. "Are you comfortable down there?" He questioned the Hatter still on the ground.
From: [info]as_a_hatter Date: 08/30/2007 08:33:42  

Hatter pressed his hand against the ground, adjusted his legs a bit, shifted his hips, before shaking his head. "No. Can't get comfortable. Feels like I'm sitting on a rock. And an uncomfortable rock at that."

He was feeling very out of place. That level of discomfort he'd had after climbing out of the rabbit hole was returning. He didn't like this. He would have to do something very, very sane soon if the feeling didn't go away.

Sane for his well-being, that is.
From: [info]stolethetarts Date: 08/30/2007 17:50:03  

"Then you should probably get up." Knave held out a hand - a large hand - to offer the Hatter help up. "What did you mean you've been enslaved to a tea murderess?" That was the only part of the Hatter's rambling Knave hadn't followed. Though the fact that he was following Hatter's train of thought that well bothered Knave just a bit.
From: [info]as_a_hatter Date: 09/02/2007 22:53:29  

Hatter took the hand extended to him, and got to his feet. "I'm a slave. And she murders tea. And thinks it funny." There was some obvious bitterness on Hatter's part over this aspect of the relationship, if it culd be called that.
From: [info]stolethetarts Date: 09/05/2007 19:17:05  

"As you've said," Knave commented idly. He looked down at Hatter - he still towered over the smaller man by a great deal, even though he was standing. "Is this the same she you were talking about before?"

And crossed his arms across his broad chest and added, "And did you want the tea or not?"
From: [info]as_a_hatter Date: 09/06/2007 00:30:36  

"There is no other she." Hatter pulled off his hand, spinning it in his hands as he looked up at the tall Knave. "And yes. Tea, please."

He was getting nervous. He'd have to say her name soon. But not where she was living.

EGADS! She was living with him! Hatter didn't know what state he'd find the house in when he returned.
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