A/N: SyFy inspired. I don't own much – literally. Some of it is original, though. Pre-miniseries.
Pass the Hat
It doesn't go like this;
You've left out some pages
-Let Go, Ingrid Michaelson
You Plus Me Is Bad News
She wasn't supposed to be there; that much was obvious. She didn't belong. She was lost.
The three boys who crowded around her, jeering, didn't seem to mind. They were glad for it, to say the least. Her earrings were of particular interest, it appeared.
"Those real rocks, kitty?" one of them asked, moving a finger to touch one.
"Leave 'er lone!" he called from the end of the alley. He was surprised she hadn't said anything herself. He had imagined any girl brave enough to wander into this part of town would have had a sharper tongue. He'd been wrong, he decided.
They all turned to him, the girl inching away from them and back down the alley toward him.
"Jeez, Davie! You gave us a fright," the tallest boy's voice dripped with sarcasm. They were hardly frightened of him.
He glared at them all the same. His name was not Davie.
"We thought you might've been someone really scary. You know, like the suits…"
His nose twitched. They would have to bring them up after last week. His ear still hurt. The girl was almost to him now but the boys weren't going to give up their shiny new toy so easily.
"Oi! Kitten! Where you going?"
She turned back towards them. He couldn't see her face, not really, but he could imagine it – eyes wide with terror and her mouth quivering. She was just a little girl, after all. She wasn't even as old as him.
She turned back around slowly, but her face wasn't what he expected. Her lips weren't quivering and her eyes weren't wide. Instead, she was biting her lip and furrowing her brow in what looked like determination. What an odd time not to be scared, he thought.
The gaggle behind her didn't seem to like her silent dismissal. One of the boys – Reggie, he seemed to remember – grabbed her arm and turned her to face him.
That was it; he couldn't wait any longer. He walked towards them, making sure not to trip over his own feet, and shoved Reggie away roughly. Planting himself between the two of them, he turned his head to the side and whispered to her, "You shoul' make a break for it." She stayed still, only watching with a grim expression of confusion on her face.
The other two boys moved to back Reggie who, he'd just noticed, was almost the size of the girl at Davie's back.
"Come on, Davie, don't be stupid. Look at her: she's rich. She won't even miss those stones. We'll even let you have what's in her pockets, won't we, Thomas? What d'ya say?"
Thomas' face gave him away: he was still glaring from under the brim of his hat.
"Why should we? He's only being a bother. We ain't showing him no charity for this. Anyways, I was gonna go through her pockets myself."
"No one's gonna touch her," he said through gritted teeth. He would've been more confident in the statement if she wasn't still right there over his shoulder.
"We'll see about that." The only boy whose name he hadn't bothered to remember stepped forward menacingly. His hands came up and Davie ducked, his ears burning at the thought of being boxed. He swung around, driving the brawl away from her. His knuckles did little damage to the boys; they never had. He managed fairly easily to keep his face apart from their fists, but his chest was a different matter entirely. They landed a couple of good jabs and finally knocked him hard enough to double him over. Reggie came up behind him and locked his thin arms around Davie's. Now it was going to get ugly. Thomas stepped forward and grabbed his chin, pretending to inspect a smudge on his cheek but drew his hand back and let it connect with the spot instead. Hard, to be precise. Another fist connected with his shoulder and another with his nose soon thereafter. The scuffle was taking a turn for the worst.
"Stop! Stop it right this instant!" A crystal clear command sounded, rising above the grunts and moans.
They all stopped and Reggie even let him drop to his knees. They were as startled as him that she had spoken.
"What?" Thomas smiled sardonically. He boxed Davie's ear without moving his eyes from the girl.
"Ow!" Davie couldn't help it. That one had hurt.
The girl's frown deepened, turning into a pout. "I said 'stop'." Her voice was quiet, but resolute.
Thomas backhanded him again, and he felt his lip burst, the blood running in with that from his already broken nose. He could see, through his now-bruising eye, that her eyes had started watering. This idiot was going to make a little girl cry. For. No. Reason. This was too much.
"Sorry, love. I don't think you're in charge here." Thomas snickered, turning to look at Davie before he hit him again. Reggie and the other boy were still a little stunned that she had spoke, or too busy guffawing over Thomas' answer to realize that he had stood up.
He pulled right arm back. As he let it fly towards Thomas and his smug, unsuspecting face, there was a snap. It was hardly as loud as the noise his hand made when it connected and it definitely wasn't as loud as the sound of Thomas flying across the alley and into a row of trash bins. His hat fluttered to the alley below as he soared.
Thomas stood up quickly, his face full of shock. His nose was very obviously broken. It stuck out at an absurd angle, distorting his face. The girl looked at his nose with a scrunched nose and tight mouth. He looked crossly at Davie and the girl, then turned and skulked away, leaving his hat behind. The other boys followed suit, looking so sore anyone would have thought he'd punched them too. He turned to the girl slowly, looking at his hand for any breaks in the fingers. They looked fine.
She swallowed and looked at her feet as he met her gaze. She was still just standing there, her hands balled up at her sides. At last, she looked up.
"Is your hand okay?" she asked with a genuine curiosity. Strangely enough, there was some kind of guilt in her voice too, he thought.
"Yeah, I think so. It's never done that before." He spoke like his arm was no longer part of his body. She giggled. She walked towards him, her head now confident, chin parallel to the cobble. Her face however, looked a little pained. It took him a moment to realize how bad he must have looked after all those blows.
"Your face…" she pulled a handkerchief out of the pocket of her dress. She handed it to him, waiting expectantly for him to take it.
"It'll get blood on it," he pointed out.
"I don't mind." She shrugged.
He had just begun to wipe his face with the white cloth when he noticed the embroidery in one of its corner.
His eyes nearly bulged out of his head as he backed away from her, holding the handkerchief between them. The red diamond swung at the bottom of it, waving to its mistress. The girl looked confused, insulted.
"What's the matter?"
As if she didn't know.
"You… you – you're one of the… the queens," he stammered. After last week the very last place in Wonderland that he wanted to be was two feet from a queen, the very daughter of the Red Queen herself, in an alley. Holding her kerchief and looking like he did, at that.
The girl curtsied as if she didn't know he was about to sprint after the other boys like she had a plague of some sort.
"Katherine Adelaide-" she began, but he stopped her.
"Yeah, yeah. I know who you are. You shouldn't be here." He was harsh in his reply, but she didn't look nearly hurt enough to run away crying. Not nearly as hurt as she had looked when he was being hurt on her account.
"Thank you," she stated matter-of-factly.
"Don' mention it." Curiouser and curiouser... No suits had come around the corner yet, so he relaxed. Then a thought struck him. He had heard something about this one. This queen.
"Did you…" he gestured to his right hand.
She smiled grandly and then looked ashamed. "I could take it back – I'm sorry…"
"No! No, I rather think it'll come in, well, handy." He grinned as big as a Cheshire.
She giggled again, walking past him into the alley. She stopped at Thomas' hat and picked it up, twirling it in her fingers like a toy. She walked back to him and held the hat out to him like a crown.
"A victor deserves his spoils." She took the cloth out of his hand and ripped it as delicately as anyone could have at one of the corners – the one with the emblem. She stuffed it into the hat along a seam, half of the embellished crimson diamond peeking out of the inside rim now. He hadn't figured out why until she pointed to a spot on his head that he knew smarted.
"In case it bleeds," she explained, placing the hat on his head. Suddenly, she seemed older. No longer the scared little girl who needed protecting, just a girl trying not to abuse her power. Powers. She stepped back and beamed at him, obviously pleased with her work.
"It suits you… Davie, was it?"
"No, that's not my name." It didn't sound as bad when she said it. She could've called him whatever she wanted. He must have been thinking this very hard because the next thing he heard her say was, "I suppose I'll just have to call you…well, I suppose… Hatter. Yes, that will do."
"Hatter?" he asked, turning the name over his tongue.
"Yes, Hatter. Do you like it?" She titled her head to the side as she spoke.
"I think it's wonderful," he answered simply. What else could he say to her?
"Well, Hatter, how would you like to come with me?" she asked as if it was the most natural question in the world.
"With you? As in, to Castle?" He'd never dreamed of leaving the city, and he knew better.
"Yes, naturally." She turned, her purple skirt twirling into place and walked in the direction he had come from. "Do try to keep up. I dread being late: my sister always – look, are you coming?" she turned back towards him and gave him a bewildered stare.
"I don' think tha' 's a good idea." He mumbled.
"And why not?" she demanded, sounding a little hurt that he was denying her.
"S'just not, your majesty." He let his shoulders rise and fall in a weak shrug.
"I'm not the queen yet; you should call me Katherine. And I still don't see why you can't come with me. Surely those boys weren't your friends. You can't want to stay here."
"No, that's… no. That isn't the reason, Kat." She looked pleased that he had called her something other than majesty but still unsatisfied by his explanation.
"Look, here's the thing," he went on, trying to grasp at a concept she would understand. "You… ah, here it is: you plus me is bad news. I don't belong in your world."
"You are in my world, silly. All of Wonderland is my world," she pointed out, "but I suppose I see your point." She sighed much too heavily for a girl her age.
He nodded his head. She curtsied again (strange, he thought) and then straightened. She walked until she was less than a foot from him and them licked her thumb, and rubbed the smudge off his bruised cheek. It stung a little, but he kept a straight face.
"It didn't go with the hat," she said plainly and turned.
She looked over her shoulder at the end of the alley and gave him a conspiratorial grin. "Good bye, Hatter. I hope we shall meet again."
"Yeah," was all he said before she disappeared around the corner. He didn't follow.
This story is set in Wonderland's past. It takes place long before either Alice appear. The Queen of Hearts is still a girl, a few years older than her sister who appears in this vignette. I don't imagine their parents would have had a casino. Their mother is the Red Queen, who here is different from the Queen of Hearts. I'm not an expert on Carroll's works so I apologize if I'm murdering the story's history even more than those before. I just wanted to give a possible explanation for Hatter's hat, name, and awesome strength. If the little Queen of Diamonds doing all this seems illogical to you my response is: it is Wonderland. Plus, I like the idea of Hatter having a bit of regal interaction. Actually, I just plain like Hatter himself. But my attempt at a Yorkshire accent would have been atrocious to read. You'll just have to use your imagination.
My further ideas for this story would completely ruin the SyFy Alice's lovely ending. It would have a happy ending of course (I'm that kind of girl, I'm afraid) but it would take a huge turnabout. Leave your thoughts, though.
PS. Did anyone else think, during the scene in the Casino when they have the shootout between Alice, Hatter and the Suits: "Oh God, someone gave Connor a gun! Shit."? Am I the only one? Primeval fans?
PSS. Please review. 200 visitors and only 3 reviews makes me feel sad. VERY SAD.