Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.

Author's note: I should be working on my other fic, I know, but I saw the movie and I just couldn't resist! Hopefully this is at least a little bit original. I'll be totally devastated if it turns out someone's already written something like this while I was busy with other stuff.


"There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness." –Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 - 1900)


Prologue: In this World and the Next

-

Alice had stood here, on this very balcony, with her hands on this white marble. They'd looked out on a war-ravaged Underland together. The stars had glittered above them like so many shattered diamonds.

He presses his hands where he remembers hers had been. Even if the warmth of her skin has long since dissipated, he imagines he can feel the ghostly echo of her hands under his. It is make-believe, and unhealthy– but Alice was the one who told him that it was alright to be insane. He believes her, he believes in her, and he stares out over the brilliant landscape towards the setting sun.

"You have stayed long past your time," the White Queen says gently.

He has not heard her approach. Mirana of Marmoreal's elegance and kindness are equally matched by her strength in both mind and body. Her kingdom was stolen from her by treachery, not in battle; in battle, she is unmatched.

Tarrant Hightopp is Mad, is a Hatter, is the Mad Hatter. But he wasn't always mad, wasn't always a hatter. And once upon a time, he was not the Mad Hatter. Only a lost traveller.

He says nothing, but stares out over the landscape. His eyes ache from the over-bright colors, but he can't look away.

"It is very rare that one of my cousin's subjects should be sent to me," the Queen continues over the Hatter's silence. "I fear that in my curiosity, I have allowed you to linger too long."

He wants to say something kind. To thank her for her time. But the words get caught in his throat, behind the burning of his eyes.

"Are you going to send me back?" he rasps out.

It's been days since he last talked. Since Alice left him, whirled away in a flood of colorless smoke and Jabberwocky blood. Since he did anything but stare off into the distance, searching for her image.

"You have been a good and loyal subject to me," Mirana says softly. "You stood by me in my darkest times, you furthered my cause when it would have served you better to defect, and you fought beside me in battle."

She sighs heavily. "I fear that you have lost much from our association, while I have gained much. And, as much as it pains me, I must concede that the only recourse I have now is to return you to your true world."

Tarrant flinches. His hands come away from the white marble, and he takes a step backwards. "But– Your Majesty– Alice–"

The White Queen presses a gentle kiss to his forehead. "Trust in your lady, Hatter. You will see her again."

There is so much more that Tarrant hasn't said, should have said, and time has run out. He feels the magic unraveling around him– the same magic that brought him here, so many years before. The last thing he sees are the White Queen's dark eyes smiling at him as he fades away.


In one world, Tarrant Hightopp, Mad Hatter, closes his eyes.

In the next world over, Percy Weasley awakes.


End note: Reviews might not actually make the world go round, but they do make an unpaid writer more likely to update faster... Nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more.