A Syfy's Alice Hurt/Comfort/Angst Fanfic

Finally, watching her fall through the Looking Glass, he knew what had been leaked into the Teas all those years ago.

Rated K+ for slightly darker stuff writing.

Disclaimer: Nope, none of it's mine. Well, the idea of negative emotions being accidentally leaked into the mainstream Teas might be.

A/N: This is another one of the many ideas for Syfy's Alice that I thought of after reading a lot of fanfics last night. I have 3 more, only one that revolves around Hatter character-development. This is my favourite thing to do with characters! I should really stop.

No, I shouldn't! If I do, I'll have nothing to write!

This didn't go in the direction I intended at all. I originally intended it to be almost entirely what's referenced in the first part, and a little ending. Oh well. How ideas change in the writing.

(524 words)

The Tea business wasn't a perfect business. It had had its fair share of problems, most notably its dependence upon the Oysters and a few bad batches that had leaked out to the public. The former didn't concern the Hatter much, but the latter had proven worse than he'd imagined. His customers, of course, blamed him for them. The bad emotions that they had received instead of the good they were used to did nothing to help matters. By the unfortunate luck of the draw, Hatter had decided to break in the new shipment of Contentment himself.

The horrible, gut-wrenching pain that he had been granted instead of a calmer demeanour had turned him off the Teas permanently. He still, of course, drank good, old-fashioned tea, but none with any of the Oysters' emotions. In retrospect, he thought that this was probably a good thing. At the very least, it had defined who he was.

If he had succumbed to the glinting promises of the Teas, he would never have gotten to the place he had – or been able to help the Resistance as much as he had.

He also would never have found out what had been leaked into the Teas.

* * *

It would be years later, after Alice had come through the Looking Glass, and after he'd admitted – to himself – that he no longer saw her as "just an Oyster," that he would first have any inkling of what that contaminant might have been.

It was when he had returned from securing Alice a meeting with Caterpillar. He had almost kissed her. Then he had to show up, and ruin everything.

He stole Alice away.

Hatter experienced a burning emotion known to most as Envy. His mind flashed back to all those years ago, when his customers – and many others' – had gone positively mad with some emotion. Some emotion that, combined with the peace of Contentment, would drive to the brink of insanity any normal person.

He was relatively convinced it was Envy.

He was wrong.

* * *

It wouldn't be until everything seemed resolved, everything seemed tied up with a haphazard bow, that he would realise what it truly had been.

His words, which had always, in the past, worked for him, suddenly worked against him. He couldn't articulate the things he wanted to say, and he said things he hadn't thought. Even reading an Oyster – which he had never predicted could be at all difficult – proved more of a challenge than understanding why he couldn't say what he meant or mean what he said. And then she was gone, through the Looking Glass and gone from Wonderland forever.

Good! a small part of him thought. But only a small part. And it didn't really mean it – it was simply glad she had gotten out of the horror she'd faced in his homeland.

The rest of him – all of his heart – shattered. With a perversely satisfied feeling, he smiled grimly.

He knew exactly what had been leaked into the Teas so long ago, what had kept him away from them forever.

And what wouldn't the fear of Heartbreak keep you away from?