A week later, the villains met at Jervis and Alice's lair for the girl's birthday.
A table had been moved in the main room for the occasion; the blonde had asked to have a tea party for her sixteenth birthday, which the Hatter had agreed to joyfully.
Alice, Becky and Jonathan were sitting on one side of the table, while Jervis and Edward opposite of them. They originally didn't plan to invite the Riddler, but the man had demanded to come. He had already been very disappointed when he learned that the girls had organized a break out without him; he just couldn't accept not being invited to the birthday.
After eating some cake and drinking a lot of tea came the time to open the gifts.
Jervis handed one to her; it was wrapped in purple paper.
"Harley sent a goon with this. She apologized for not being able to join, she said the Joker had planned a robbery today."
The blonde took the gift with a smile. She ripped the paper carefully, and opened the box.
"A gun!" she exclaimed excitedly. Like she had said a week ago, she had started to make a collection of them. "That's a M1911A1. It's a gun lots of people have in our country. My dad had one."
She started humming, examining the gun carefully. "I'll have to thank Harley. We should offer her to come when she can, Jervis !"
"We will." The Hatter smiled. "You should open your other gifts, dear."
"Yes !" The blonde agreed, putting the gun right next to her plate.
"Oh, open mine, open mine !" Edward said, shoving a green box in her hands.
She took the lid of the box off. "The Bible of enigmas." She read on the cover of the very large book contained in the box.
"Yes ! I thought that if you read it and solved the riddles, you'd become smarter and I'll have a new person to ask riddles to. Isn't that great ?"
The blonde forced herself to smile. "Yeah, it is." Being told she would become smarter was a bit insulting; it implied she wasn't smart enough at the moment.
"Even when making someone a gift, he thinks about himself
"I knew you would like it." The red-haired man said with pride. "Who could dislike a gift I make ?"
"You would be surprised." Jonathan said, making the other villain frown.
"Next is the gift Jonathan and I bought you , Alice." Becky smiled, handing her friend a large, flat box.
The girl opened the box. She grinned as soon as she saw what was inside.
"We figured you would need other dresses." The blonde took out the three dresses; they were all rather close to Alice's dress in the Disney version of Alice in Wonderland. However, only one was blue; the two others were yellow and lavender. The aprons were different too, one was round, the others squarer
the yellow dress had short sleeves, whereas the two others had long sleeves. They were all about the same length as the green dress Harley had given her a week ago.
"I know three more dresses are not enough, but at least that's a good start." Becky said to the girl, squeezing her hand. Alice had not tried to take back any clothes from her parents' house; wearing totally different clothes compared to what she used to wear was a way for the teenager to change her identity, just like being called Alice instead of Rachel did.
"Thanks a lot ! Thank you, both of you." The blonde exclaimed.
"Well, I believe there's only my gift left now." The Hatter said, getting up. "I'll be back in a minute."
He walked towards another room.
"I wonder what the gift is going to be. Probably something creepy." Edward said, stretching.
"I'm sure it's going to be an awesome gift. Not like yours
" Becky said, grimacing.
"Damnit Jonathan, why did your girlfriend become so mean and hurtful ? Why did she become
like you ?" The Riddler said, feigning to be extremely hurt.
"She didn't become like me. She was like me since the beginning; it just took you some time to realize." The villain casually answered, cutting himself another slice of cake. "By the way, how is it going for you in the love department ?"
The younger villain frowned. "Oh, fuck you." He crossed his arms and started pouting.
They all laughed, while Jervis walked back in.
"Here is your gift, dear !" He was holding a small white rabbit, a very young one.
"Before you even arrived here, more than a month ago, I had found your cat Dinah. Sadly, she escaped the very day you came; I guess she was always a troublemaker. Our friend the White Rabbit, however, seems very glad to stay with us, if you accept him."
The blonde girl rose from her chair. "Oh, of course I accept ! He's so adorable ! Thank you, Jervis !" She carefully took the rabbit in her hands; he was so small he could fit in them easily. He did not fight back; he seemed rather eager to be held, actually. Seeing this, Jonathan suspected Jervis had put the rabbit under mind control, but he preferred to keep that for himself.
The rest of the tea party went quite well, even though Edward sulked during most of it. When the sun began to set, the three guests departed.
The blonde girl got up from her chair, holding the sleeping rabbit in her arms. The Hatter had begun to take the dirty plates off the table.
"You know it's the perfect time to tell him. You're alone, just had a great time together
It's now or never !"
"You don't have to do that now." Alice said to him. "We can do it tomorrow."
"I really think I should do it right now
The girl bit her lip. "Please Jervis ! I want to tell you something. Something important."
The blonde criminal raised an eyebrow, and put the plates back on the table. "Okay. What is it ?"
Alice cleared her throat. "Stop looking at me. I can't say it if you're looking at me."
"Why ?" He laughed.
"I just can't." She walked to the couch, and sat down. It was usually not that hard to tell someone she liked them
She had done so a few times and was never so flustered. Then again, no one was like Jervis.
The Hatter quickly went to sit next to her. "What is it ? You know you can tell me anything."
He was starting to become nervous as well; what if she told him she didn't want to live here anymore ? What if she wanted to go back to her parents ?
Petting the rabbit and staring at the ground, the girl mumbled : "I want to tell you something but I'm afraid it might ruin everything."
"I assure you, it won't."
"Well, you can't know. You don't know what I want to say." She frowned.
"Nothing you can say could ruin what we have, dear Alice. You know I will always be your friend
" He put a hand on her shoulder in a comforting manner.
"That's the thing ! I don't want to be your friend."
" The man's eyes opened wide.
"I like you. Here, I said it. I know I'm younger than you, I know we're in a really fucked up situation, but I have feelings for you. If it's only one-sided, don't worry about it. Forget what I just said."
A large smile appeared on the Hatter's face. To think he had feared, for a moment, that she might want to leave !
"It's not one-sided, my dear. And I will not forget what you just said."
"Really ?" Alice turned to him so quickly that it woke up the rabbit.
"Do you think
we could try to be together ?" She asked softly.
"We can try."
Jonathan and Becky got in the man's car.
"I wonder if Alice is going to confess her feelings to Jervis soon. It seems a bit stupid for them to live under the same roof and not even be aware of the other's feelings." The red-head wonder, looking through the window.
Crane laughed at the irony. "You seem to forget we were in the same situation for a few days."
"Like you said, it was for a few days. They've been like this for a month and a half." The girl sighed. "What do you plan on doing tonight ?"
"I don't know. I still want to keep low profile for a while; I'm probably going to work at home."
"Can I come ?"
"You don't even have to ask. Of course you can." Her lover smiled.
"Awesome." She thought for a few seconds, then asked : "Did you mean what you said to Eddie ?"
"What, that you were like me since the beginning ?"
The girl nodded.
"I've been saying this since we met ! How can you only pick it up now ?"
"I don't know. I guess I'm a little oblivious to that sort of thing. But you are too !"
"Yes." The criminal sighed. "We make a rather great pair, don't you think ? Two socially awkward freaks."
"I actually do think we make a great pair." Becky stated with a serious look on her face.
"You're right." The man laughed. "We do."