Disclaimer: Haha. If only. I still need to find me a Hatter...

It's incredible that even though he barely knows her, it's like she's always been a part of his life.

Like she's a piece of his anatomy, something important, like his heart. She's keeping him going, and he doesn't know how to feel about that because he's never depended on anyone but himself before for anything. But she's there. And she's real. And all he wants is to hold onto her and never let go. He's never felt that way about a person before, but then she's not any ordinary person, is she? She's Alice. She's like no one he's ever met before, and he's sure he will never meet anyone like her for the rest of his life.

He watched her from the background, arms wrapped around Jack, and he knew right then and there that that was the kind of man she deserved. Someone good and noble, just like her. Jack had all of that wrapped into one package, and a kingdom to boot. He would treat her right, and give her everything that she wanted. He knew he was perfect. But even with the thought running through his mind a thousand times over, his throat still tightened at the sight of her in his arms. His stomach still tied itself in knots. The beat of his heart thudded unevenly, as though it was set to a different rhythm. One he didn't understand, or know how to put right himself.

It was like he was frozen in place now, watching them, and then they were turning and talking about the looking glass. The ring. She was using the ring to activate the looking glass. What was happening now? Was she not going off with Jack after all? Was she going back to the real world?

The questions buzzed around in his head, too much for him. Either way, he was going to lose her forever. Lose this part of him that he'd never thought he'd wanted before, but now he needed her. He craved her, and she was going away. Going back to the normal world, with its whirlwind of feelings, and obliviousness. It was in that moment that he'd never had such a clear myriad of emotions. It all just rolled itself into one giant ball that pulled at him, tugging at everything he held close to him, wrenching at the insides of his stomach.

He turned away. She'd never wanted to stay here in the first place, he'd known that from the start. It had always been a matter of rescuing Jack and getting home. But now that Jack was safe, and King, it was all down to her going back to the place she belonged. Because in his heart he knew that that was the truth. She could only be happy in the place she called home. And now, what with the death of her father, and the narrow escapes the both of them had managed to scrape through, she'd lived more than she could have in her entire life. She was never meant to stay here.

He was about to walk away, stomach still churning, when he heard his name, and although all he wanted to do was just walk away and never have to face her again, he couldn't very well just ignore her. He didn't have that in him either.

The rest of their conversation turned to an awkward babble. It was hard to imagine that she couldn't see the longing in his eyes. He couldn't remember what he'd said, only that it had been the both of them rambling on like what was going to happen was an everyday occurrence, when really, he just wanted to grab her. He wanted that hug. He wanted more of her. All of her. But here he was talking about pizza, telling her to go, pretending that they both hadn't gone on the most incredible adventure of their lives together. Pretending that they hadn't nearly died together.

There were so many things he wanted to tell her, but nothing was coming out. Just stupid useless words, completely untrue, and totally unnecessary. She was like no other girl that he'd ever encountered. He rehearsed the words enough in his head, but they wouldn't come out of his mouth. She was beautiful. He'd never seen a girl fight quite like she did, without hesitating or holding back, and he'd never been more captivated by it all. He wanted to tell her that she was everything that he had come to know and more, but then before he could summon the words out of his mouth, she was being thrust through the looking glass, and then all that was left was a memory of the only girl that he'd ever...loved. He'd never really thought much about that before, but, yes, he loved her. Loved this girl that he'd only just met. She was his heart.

And he didn't need any tea for him to know what that felt like.

So just like that, he knew what he had to do. He'd never been more certain in his life of what his next step was. Spontaneous gestures had always been his specialty.

Besides, there was no question about it. If he had to choose between his world or her world anyday, it was always going to be the one she was in.

A/N: Alice had me hook, line and sinker, so naturally, I had to write something for it. Yes, I'm a sap. Meh. My love for Hatter just had me itching to do something in his mind about this scene. Enjoy :)