Mad as a Hatter

By LindsayR


Summary: He's never claimed to be a particularly brilliant man and Jack is quick to comment on his idiocy.

Spoilers for both parts of SyFy channel's 'Alice'

Disclaimer: I own naught…it all belongs to Lewis Carroll, Nick Willing, and the SyFy Channel.

Author's Note: I wasn't going to keep going cause I'm really not good about finishing series or sequels but the second half of 'Alice' just begged for me to write more. Bear with me though, if people are out of character, I really suck at keeping people in character when there's dialogue. Review are appreciated. And, with all this said, here it is…a sort of follow up to my ficlet 'A Lucky Man'.

It's a well-known fact that, in spite of owning a Tea Shoppe, he can and has been known to be a royal idiot with a penchant for rash behavior. It's the reason people have always said he's mad. Watching Alice walk toward the Looking Glass that brought her into his life he knows not speaking up is the most idiotic act he's ever committed. She's gone before he can even open his mouth to rectify his mistake. Angry with himself and barely able to breathe through the crushing pain in his chest, he retreats outside completely unaware of the eyes following his departure from the room.

The vast hills of Wonderland go on forever in brilliant shades of green. Trees dot the land and the lake in the distance shimmers under the bright sunlight. He doesn't really see any of it though. He's always thought Wonderland was the most beautiful sight he'd ever see until she was pulled into his Shoppe, angry about her boyfriend's kidnapping and her treatment since falling into Wonderland. Dripping wet and upset, he was intrigued and attracted to her the second he spun his chair around. Memories of the short time they spent together dance through his head and he doesn't hear the click of footsteps on the stone floor. It takes him several moments to realize that Prince Jack, now King, is standing next to him, staring out at the same landscape.

"Don't say it," he says when he notices Jack open his mouth to speak.

"Say what? That you just ruined your last chance with a girl who could love you like no other? Why on earth would I say that? You already seem to know it." There's a smirk playing at the corner of Jack's mouth that Hatter can tell he's trying very hard to keep from turning into a full fledged grin.

"I said don't say it. I'm well aware of my idiocy, thank you very much, and don't need reminders from you. After all, you're just as much of an idiot as myself. You had her and lost her with your lies."

Jack sighs heavily. "She wasn't in love with me. Not really. She was in love with the person I pretended to be. And I loved the girl she was then. Wonderland changed her, she was right about that. She's not meant for this world any more than I was for hers…and I have a chance for love here that I never recognized before." Jack turns slightly to look at the doorway to the balcony where the Duchess stands, a smile on her face, her eyes full of love and looking at him like he's hung the moon. "I grew up with the Duchess and never looked at her as more than my mother's creation until yesterday. That was my mistake and one I'm not willing to make again." He turns back to Hatter. "Go find her. Your shop is useless now and Alice loves you. Go make a life for yourself in her world. If you let her, she'll love you like no other."

"I…." He's lost for words and his mouth snaps shut. Unable to process what just happened he instead looks at Wonderland again…a last look. He turns back to Jack who is now standing a few feet away, the Duchess on his arm. "Jack…thank you."

"You're welcome, Hatter. And treat her well. She deserves no less than the best. Of course, I never thought that would be you." He smiles and nods toward the Looking Glass. "Now that the ring is back, it will always be open. I hope that you'll visit and bring Alice with you."

"As if she'll let me get out of it once I tell her that we've got a permanent invitation."

"Go." Jack pauses and with a quick glance at the Duchess he keeps going. "And tell her that I'm sorry for the lies. I never wanted to hurt her. And that the better man won."

Hatter nods and then rushes into the room, shouting a quick goodbye to Charlie before running past the Looking Glass technicians and into the mirror. He just hopes that Jack is right…because if he's not, he doesn't know if he'll be able to survive the broken heart that will be the result.