: You'd never believe that these were all intended to be just little drabble-y things, would you? With each one, it's gotten longer and more complex, and I've still got 18 or so left to do after this. It's kinda obvious how much my fandoms change depending on my mood and how recently I got into them. Doctor Who? 4 years. Repo? I'd say about 6 months or so. Tim Burton, 2 months. Syfy Alice… well, I'm sure you can tell, I'm still in the full throes of obsession at the moment. Be glad that I did these while I'm still fangirling, or they would never have gotten finished…

Queens

Mary Elizabeth Constance Devillious Heart was no idiot.

On the contrary, she had always been a cunning child, and had grown into a devilishly crafty woman. Just because she had lost her crown didn't mean she had lost her head. Intelligence like hers didn't just flitter away. She really was ever so clever, and she knew some ever so clever things.

Like just how important an asset the Looking Glass was, and how long it took to get a new Looking Glass ready for use. And she had seen for herself in the past few days just how easy a thing it would be for the Stone of Wonderland to fall into the hands of the enemy. As well as being clever, she was also someone who refused to be cowed into the corner. Should her Stone be stolen to be used as a bartering tool, she had something to use against them.

She'd had another ring made..

She refused to be threatened by those snivelling imbeciles in the Resistance, let alone that spiteful child of hers or his disgusting little Oyster.

Oh, she knew that she had no chance of getting her crown back. That was the price of ruling with an iron fist; it may keep the people in hand when you have power, but if that power was lost, the chances of retrieving it was slim to none. She had made powerful enemies that were now free to rally against her. Sure, she would have the support of the Tea Addicts, but they were just a mindless rabble. They lacked direction, and only wanted to find their next fix. The Resistance had spent decades organising against her, and the only person with any kind of power who truly supported her had seen his death in the destroyed casino.

The sentimental fool.

She was never going to get her throne back, and there was no point in trying to bargain with them.

But at least, if nothing else… at least Mary Elizabeth Constance Devillious Heart could go out with… -how they say?- a

~x~x~x~

BANG

Hatter couldn't remember a time when he had moved faster than in those next few moments. Before most of the broken shards of glass had even hit the ground, he was running, tackling Alice away from the Looking Glass, taking the technician down too as they fell, sheltering her as best he could from the rain of broken mirror. He hadn't even thought about it, didn't need to. He had only heard the explosion from the direction Alice was standing, and ran. What would have happened if she had been pushed through? The consequences of her being caught In-Between when the explosion occured simply did not bare thinking about.

The entire room was a cacophony of noise. The reverberations from the blast had smashed some of the stain glass windows above, and everyone was cowering. Oysters were shouting to check on each other, the Suits trying to get control of the situation, their boots crunching over the remains of the mirror and windows.

Right now, all that Hatter cared about was the warm body that was stirring in his arms. He could feel her breaths, slowly calming as panic wore off.

"Alice?"

No response. He shook her shoulder, repeated her name. This time she blinked, moving her arms down from their protective position over her head. Her body finally relaxed, and she sighed as she realised that yes, she was still alive.

"Are you okay?"

Though, perhaps, not exactly well.

She blinked up at Hatter, slowly becoming aware of his weight on top of her, and stared at his lips.

"Alice, are you a'right?"

Her eyes widened.

"Get up," was all she said, quiet and uncertain. Something was obviously wrong, because neither of those words were exactly ones that he was would use for her under any circumstances. All the same, he pushed himself up, ignoring the bite in the heels of his hands as the glass from the floor found itself a place in his skin. He helped her up, then offered a hand to the technician he had shoved away from the explosion, who seemed to have a similar look of bewilderment on his face as Alice.

Hatter looked back at her, scanning what he could see of her, cataloguing the damage. She didn't look that bad, though there would perhaps be a scar or two from the deepest gashes. All these were apparently unnoticed by her, as she repeatedly pressed her fingers to her ears, pressing and relieving, frustration evident.

"Wha's wrong?" She didn't respond, didn't even seem to notice he spoke. He ducked his head, trying to catch her eye, and finally he had her attention. "What is wrong?" he was careful to over enunciate every word.

Then he realised.

How close she had been to the blast.

Her slow responses.

"I can't hear…" Her eyes were glued to Hatter's, wide and shaken, but every second they showed a little more of the determination that he recognised as hers. Even her voice sounded less shaky than moments before, though this was evidently a shock to the system.

"Alice, are you all right?" came the crystal-cut pronunciation heralded the arrival of the now King of Hearts. He was behind Hatter, and he forced himself to drag his gaze away from Alice's to turn to Jack.

"Get a Doctor. She can't hear anything." This wasn't a time for petty rivalry, as he was full aware. He kept himself calm as possible, drawing strength from her own strong will. If this didn't get to her, it wouldn't get to him.

Jack made the orders, and quickly some of the medical staff from the Casino were found and brought to care for the people injured. The Doctor checking Alice and the technicians closest to the mirror said that they had something called a "temporary threshold shift", which he explained meant that the lack of hearing would last anywhere between a few hours to a day, but that there hadn't been a rupture in their eardrums, and so it looked good. There wasn't anything that could be done to help, even in Wonderland, and that they just needed to go somewhere quiet to wait for their hearing to return. He tried to convey this to Alice as best as was possible, until she caught his meaning and relaxed to know it wasn't permanent.

"I'll call a Scarab and escort her to the palace." Jack stated once the Doctor had gone to help look after the Oysters, "She'll be safe there."

"Oh please," Hatter rolled his eyes, "A new monarch and half a thousand Oysters banging on your doors asking to go 'ome? 'Scuse me, majesty, but the palace is gonna be the loudest place in Wonderland."

"So where do you suppose? Once word spreads that Emotions are no longer being harvested, your quaint little Tea Shop is going to be ransacked. At least at the palace, Alice will be safe."

Hatter was about to retaliate, until he was cut across by Alice.

"For God's sake, would you two stop?" Her voice was louder than she intended, and slightly slurred. She couldn't hear herself to keep it in check, and the whole room fell quiet at the volume and respect it instantly demanded. "I'm deaf and even I can feel the testosterone flying. Now," she lowered her voice a little, though it was still louder than her normal level, "if the argument is over where I'm going to stay, I would rather go somewhere I know. The Casino is out, and right now I'd really rather go with Hatter. I have no doubt you can look after me Jack, but right now I would really rather be… somewhere else."

She stared him down, until it was clear that she wasn't changing her mind.

"No point arguing with a deaf girl." She said with a slight smile.

"No point arguing with an Alice." Jack corrected, shaking his head and speaking slowly so that she could read his smiling lips.

She nodded her thanks, gestured to Hatter to lead the way, only pausing to pick up the velvet coat he had dropped when he ran from her. She shook off what glass had skittered to land on it – he had been far enough away from both the mirror and the windows at the back of the room for only a few stray shards to have even landed near it – and she slipped it on, either ignoring or not aware of the surprise on Hatter's face, and walked on past him, through the frame of what had been a revolving door, when he failed to move. He spared only a moment to look back at the destruction.

The mirror still stood, though the glass had all fallen. The wooden panel behind it had five scorch marks – one in each corner, and one in the middle. This was a careful, planned and controlled attack. No one mentioned it, but everyone knew who it must have been.

The Queen. She was the only one who would think to - let alone be able to- do something like this.

Trust her to stick her heels in one last time.

~x~x~x~

Hatter caught up to Alice, grabbing hold of her arm before she got near any edges.

"I can walk by myself." She snapped. "I'm deaf, not disabled."

He saw through the anger easily enough. She was back to being Alice far quicker than he expected even of her. And Alice, being Alice, had a distinct hatred for showing her weaknesses. Sure, she was smart enough to find help when she didn't know anything about the new world she found herself in, but having to ask for help getting from A to B, -or rather, A to Tea Shop- was something that wasn't going to happen any time soon. Deaf or not, she wasn't going to let something like that bring her down.

Strength. Spirit. Determination. Those were words he would use to describe her.

And perhaps just a little Stupid and Hard-Headed as well at times, but that just showed she was human, after all.

"In case you've forgotten-" He remembered that she couldn't hear him, sighed, and tried to mouth the words as best he could, miming along, "Unless you've forgotten, we're very high up." If it was anyone else, he would have felt quite the fool dancing around trying to get the point across.

She just crossed her arms and glared at him, "Stop acting like I'm an idiot."

He made an aggravated sound, hands curling into loose fists as he resisted the urge to throttle her. This was going to be difficult enough to look after as it was, without her getting being defensive at everything he did. He pressed his fisted hands to his face, growling into them.

Then he had a thought.

Eyes lighting up, he dived into the breast pocket of his jacket, searching. With a small sound of triumph, he pulled a little black book out. There was a stub of a pencil sticking out from between the pages and the spine, which he quickly took out and started riffling through the book. Curiosity piqued, Alice grudgingly walked back to him, looking as he flipped through the lined paper to find a clean page. By the looks of the numbers scribbled in it, this was where he kept his business's accounts.

He found an empty page, and quickly jotted down something, before handing the book to her.

You might not be "disabled", but if your ears are buggered up, so might your balance. You said you trusted me, so why don't you just let me look after you 'til this is sorted, yeah?

He looked at her until she finished reading and handed it back to him, studying her reaction and waiting for her approval. Like the saying goes, you can take a tove to water, but you can't make it drink.

She looked at him, almost glaring. She hated losing control of a situation, as they both knew, but she could see sense in what he said. Sure she had faced her fear of heights, jumping over the chasm of the Tweedle's design, as well flying a flamingo single handed, but she hadn't completely gotten over that fear just yet, and as he pointed out, balance could be an issue.

She looked away, spitting out a tart "Fine."

Hatter bit back a smirk, and offered her his hand, just like she had a few days ago. Funny how it felt like so long ago now, when moments ago his time with her had seemed so brief.

The technicians said that it would be a few days at least until they could get a new Looking Glass up and running again, and he was going to make sure she was alright until then, whether she wanted his help or not.

She took his hand, and he started in the direction of his shop.