Btw, most of this story actually takes place around when the Hatter is the Red Queen's prisoner... The part about the kid and the 'mother' are MANY MANY years after the 'story' (aka plot of the fanfic) 'she' tells...


Before the crackling fireplace she sat, sewing a torn article of clothing. Flame-orange curls framed her oddly made-up face as she perched in her rocking chair, silent. The needle she weilded slipped through cloth, closing up hole after hole. A shuffling noise was heard from across the room and she turned, looking into the dark with confusion. A small, adorable boy then came tumbling onto the rug before the fireplace and scrambled to a sitting position. Rocking back on his haunches, the toddler looked up at the woman cheerfully. "Hey mama! Watcha doing?" he asked in a high-pitched voice. The woman smiled, her mood switching from startled to calm and motherly.

"Just sewing up the pants you tore up yesturday, sweetie..."

The boy seemed to pout. "I didn't tear them up! It was the cat! I swear! He just LOVES to chew up my stuff, mama!!" he whined. The lady slightly chuckled, glancing down at the cat-hair-ridden pants in her hands.

"Right... I'm SURE it must've been the cat..." she said jokingly.

The toddler seemed to think she was serious and grinned wide. "Yeah! It was him! I wouldn't tear up my pants like that, ma! Thanks for understanding!" he seemed to cheer. Silence then dominated the room.

"Hey, mama..."

The lady turned to her son, whom was staring at the crackling fire. "Yes, sweetie?" Once again, there was silence. The boy switched his gaze to the rug and his mood got serious, as if he was thinking deeply about something.

"You know that story you said you'd tell me..? C-... Can I hear it?"

He looked up at her with a somber look, as if pleading to hear the tale. The woman smiled once more. Her beautiful pink-mauve lips seemed to have a calming effect on the boy and he grinned. "Why of course I'll tell you, dear! Why didn't you say so before!"
The woman shifted her position in the chair and closed up another hole on the pants she was fixing, clearing her throat. As if to set up the mood, her voice changed to one of wonder and suspense.

"Once upon a time, there was a handsome knight. When he was young, he was a loyal subject of the White Queen, but, as he got older, he switched to the White Queen's sister... The horrid Red Queen... This knight's name was Ilosovic..."


Stayne clomped down the halls of the Red Queen's castle, a not-so-great mood written all over his face. CLOMP. CLOMP. CLOMP. His footsteps echoed in the vacant rooms, causing shivers to run up the spines of anyone nearby. Of course, the residents of the castle were all too used to the shivers for he ALWAYS seemed to be in a bad mood.

Turning quickly at the end of the hall, he rammed into a couple of the red knights and a prisoner. "Damnit! Watch where you're going, bloody inbreds!" he cursed after being knocked to the ground. However, he halted his insults as he looked up. Leaning on the wall to keep his balance after the impact was a shackled Mad Hatter. Stayne paused, having a hard time believing the Hatter himself got captured, but eventually pushed himself to his feet. The two red knight escorts quickly regained their balance and wrenched Tarrant in between them by his arms.

"S-Sorry... Ilosovic..." the Hatter whispered softly as the knights shoved him along. Stayne slid out of the way and turned, simply watching them go. Something inside told him to follow. Something that made him want to see that flash of orange again.

"Mommy, why's the knight so upset about bumping into him???"

The lady sighed, glancing over at her obviously impatient son. The boy sat still, staring up at her with interested eyes. He seemed extremly focused, as if both of their lives depended on him memorizing this story.

"You'll find out why! Let me tell the story, sweetie!" she growled playfully, leaning down and ruffling the boy's hair.

Locked away in a large room, surrounded by fabrics. That's where the Hatter was said to be in the Red Queen's castle. That something inside Stayne urged him to go there and seek out Tarrant. Some unknown thing.

He walked as fast as he could without breaking out into a run down the halls of the castle. Luckly, no one seemed to be around to watch him hurry along. The knight seemed so intent on getting there that he almost tripped over his own feet.

Finally, the knave reached the door of said room, breathing heavy and fumbling for his set of keys. Every lock in the castle was controlled by a Master Key, which he just so happened to have a copy of. Stayne quietly slipped the silver key into the lock and turned it, attempting to muffle the metalic clicks. Slowly and silently, he opened the door and returned the key to his belt, peeking in the huge room.

Withen was a world of color. Ribbons of sunset displayed in neat rolls. Feathers of the ocean perked up in a glass vase. Shimmering silver sewing needles just cried to be used. Cloth of the world all around the room, some in neat organized piles and some thrown lazily about the floor. And yet, in all this wonder, the Hatter was nowhere to be seen.

The knave stepped into the room, shutting the door behind him, and observed the cornacopia of color, not even noticing the other man's absense. He just stared at the tiny world of wonder that was locked away in this castle. The only time he'd seen so much color was in the White Queen's gardens.

Suddenly, there was a crash and he seemed to jump out of his skin, yelping slightly. Whipping towards the source of the noise, he spotted the Hatter struggling with a large box of... something... Whatever it was, it was definatly metal. Medalions? Charms? Maybe even scissors?

No matter the object, Tarrant seemed to be having a hard time carrying the huge box and had accidently spilled some of the metal contents on the floor. Cursing under his breath, the man was forced to drop the huge box and return the objects to it. Stayne seemed to hover across the distance between them and easily lifted the box when the Hatter was about to lift it again. The Hatter slightly jumped at the sight of Ilosovic seemed to freeze up for a second.

"H-How long have you been in here??"

The man's voice was shaky and suspicious, as if Stayne had come to execute him or something of the sort. The knave simply smirked. "Not long... In fact, I was only just admiring your work here when I heard the crash..."

Ilosovic carried the box to the table in the center of the room, ploping it down upon the sturdy wood. The Hatter quickly shuffled over and rummaged through the box, pulling out a red metal heart pin. He seemed to slide over to a life size foam model of the Red Queen's head, upon which was a lovely bonnet in progress. Pink lace trimmed red plaid cloth, accented by red and white satin ribbons. Tarrant quickly pinned the heart just above where the right ear would be on the bonnet and looked over the peice of work.

Fluffing up the lace on one side, the Hatter seemed to be mentally critiquing the bonnet and continued to make adjustments as he saw fit. Stayne watched him closely. Observing the movements of those gentle, bandeged hands. Noticing how his hips suddenly pivoted to the right whenever he didn't like something. Staring into those deep emerald eyes...

"What is it you came for, anyway..?"

The knave snapped back to reality, a shocked look on his face. He caught a slightly annoyed look from the Hatter, whom seemed to notice his interest. The man continued to work, eyes locked on the plaid cloth, and yet he was able to divert some attention to conversation. Stayne paused, not really sure what to say...

"Her Majesty instructed me to check up on you periodically to see if you were still doing your job and not planning anything behind her back... Such as an escape plan..."

Of course, all of that was a lie. The Red Queen had no idea that her knave was chatting with the Hatter at this very moment. Stayne, however, was her most trusted soldier, so anything he mentioned about her orders was believed even if it was indeed false.

However, the Hatter froze up for a second and glanced over at him, a pang of fear sensable in his eyes. "An escape plan?" Suddenly, he seemed cheerful again. "Who would be mad enough to plan out an escape from this castle behind the Queen's back?? They wouldn't make it past the walls!" His voice was extremly convincing, yet Stayne didn't buy one bit of it.

"You... as she believes..."

Tarrant froze up once more, hips caught in mid-pivot as he'd spotted something imperfect on the bonnet before him. The knave stood up straight and brushed off some imagenary dust from the front of his armor, looking the Hatter over once more. "However, I do believe she maybe be a bit too suspicious... I mean, like you said, the only people who were mad enough to try and escape were all killed." he stated in a matter-of-fact tone. "You may find their heads floating amongst those in the mote..." The Hatter seemed like he'd never move again, eyes staring into space. Slowly, he turned to the knave, watching as he strode towards the door. Stayne paused, his hand on the knob. "Ilosovic..." The soft voice carried across the room, seeming to bless his ears with such a lovely, sound. He let his hand slide off the knob and turned to Tarrant, a questioning look on his face.

Standing solemnly and alone, the flame-haired hatter seemed to be biting his lip, hesitant to say anything more. This time, his hips pivoted to the left as he shifted he weight to one foot. "Yes?" Stayne answered. Tarrant looked into his deep dark eyes, seeming to pierce his soul from across the room.

"Why did you leave the White Queen?"

Silence seemed dominant for quite a while as the two locked stares. The knave finally broke his gaze and let it slip down to the cloth-littered floor. "I'm afraid, Tarrant..." he said, drawing out the silence a bit more. "... that such a tale should be saved for another day..." With that, he turned and grabbed the doorknob.

"What do you mean another day?!"

The knave forced open the door, trying to block the questioning voice behind him out of his mind.


The door slammed shut and Ilosovic's sprinting footsteps could be heard echoing down the halls of the castle.

AN: Ok, that was one bitchin' intro...

I must admit, I'm kinda proud of myself... I tried adding a litte more details to their voice descriptions and the scenary and- HOLY CRAP IT'S 12 AM!!!! D: HOW COULD I MISS THAT?!??!

Alright, bed time for me!!

R & R!!!