DISCLAIMER: I do not own rights to the characters or movie of Alice, this is simply my imagining of what might have happened, after Alice left Wonderland.

"We could do pizza."

"And lots of other things."

And that was the last thing they said to each other. The scientist in the white jacket came, rather abruptly, and took Alice to the looking glass and with a quick reminder for her to try to breathe, pushed her through.

Hatter just stood there, mouth slightly ajar, staring in horror as the gleaming surface swallowed her up. His heart slammed angrily against his ribcage, and the resulting pain rivaled the electric prods of the doctors. He felt like he could barely breathe. Alice was gone. And the last thing he had said to her was "we could do pizza". We could do pizza?

The room was nearly empty before he was able to pry his eyes from the looking glass. A few oysters remained, waiting for their turn to go through. The scientist in the white jacket was making adjustments in preparation for the next departure. Jack and a few of his suits were standing to the side, and looking rather bored, but remaining out of duty to see that every last oyster made it back to their world. Hatter wasn't sure when Charlie had left, but the white knight was nowhere to be seen.

Hatter felt empty, and more than a little lost as he turned to go. From the corner of his eye, he saw Jack look over at him, then start in his direction.

Damn it. Hatter did not want to talk to him. He did not want to talk to anyone at that moment, but least of all Jack Heart.

Pretending that he didn't notice, Hatter instead just picked up his pace, ever so slightly, until he was past the door and out of sight. Then, mustering what little energy he still had left in his spent body, he broke into a run and disappeared into the maze of the city.

He stopped at the tea shop only long enough to grab a few of his clothes and two or three hats. The place had been thoroughly destroyed, first by the ransacking suits, then the looters in search of any drop of tea left. Even his office had been turned on end – furniture ripped apart, glass wardrobe shattered and clothes trampled, his tea collection long gone. But it didn't matter. He didn't want to stay here anyway.

He wanted to disappear. Hide away where he could heal and forget.

Hatter went home.


Home, as he called it, was a very small, two room apartment in the lower city. It was only three stories up from the ground, and it was always dark. Only by standing outside and craning one's head up could one see the sky, far above, and mostly obscured by buildings and bridges. Like everywhere else in the city, it was overgrown with plants, and tree roots grew through the wall and disappeared into the floor. And a thick layer of dust coated the few pieces of furniture that were there.

He hadn't lived here since he was fourteen, but having a safe place to run to had saved his life on more than one occasion. Occupational hazard of dealing tea for the queen.

Hatter shut the door and threw the locks into place. He wiped a spot on the table clean of dust and dropped his bundle onto it. Then he swept his hat off of his head and deposited it on top.

His eyes moved about the tiny apartment, from the bed to the edge of the footed tub in the bathroom, then back to the bed. He knew he was filthy, but right now his body ached for sleep, and his mind cried for the escape it would bring. He would bathe in the morning.

He slowly peeled off the paisley shirt and velvet pants that he had been wearing far too many days in a row, and dropped them to the floor. He threw himself onto the bed, ignoring the clouds of dust that it raised, and closed his eyes.

Sleep came quickly, but it was a tormented sleep. He watched as Alice was pulled from him and pushed through the looking glass, again and again and again.

He awoke with a broken heart. He had rarely cried, even as a child. But as he sat on the edge of the bed, all alone in his childhood home, he felt a sob rising in his throat, and tears came unbidden to his eyes. Feeling foolish and angry and all torn apart, Hatter buried his face in his hands and cried. He had been through so much – too much. He had been shot, been beaten up, lost his tea shop, been tortured, been forced to kill – twice! But for all that, the pain that hurt the most was his separation from the oyster who had caused it all! He realized he loved her. It was a shocking sensation really. He had never known what real love felt like. And, simultaneously, he knew that he should never have let her go... or at very least, should have gone with her. But it was too late now.

His tears gradually abated, though the misery remained, and he got up. He was once again aware of how badly he needed a bath. And some tea... real tea, and he would have to go out and get something to eat. He tried to think back to when he had last eaten – had it been the borogrove ribs, back in the woods with Charlie and Alice? He could still see her, sitting there in his purple jacket, in the firelight. They had fought that night, fought about Jack.

Jack. Everything had been about Jack. And even after all they had been through, he had come into the looking glass room, and she had been hugging Jack. He winced. That memory really stung.

The bath was not nearly so hot as he would have liked, however, he couldn't remember a bath ever feeling so good. After he finally climbed out (wrinkling his nose in disgust at how dirty the water in the tub was), he checked his wounds to ensure they were not becoming infected. Raised welts and burns, dark ugly bruises, and more than a few cuts, covered his torso, especially his right side, a testament to all he had been through in the last week. But they were already starting to look better. Satisfied he began to dry himself off with a coarse towel.

And that's when he heard a voice... an all-too-familiar voice... right outside the front door.

"Here we are, he's in there... yes, of course he is in there... well, I'm a knight! And I am well versed in the black arts."