Characters are the brainchild of the writers of Syfy - I own nothing.
Sorry to everyone who read the first draft... I made some changes (hopefully for the better) though the general chapter is the same.
Please read and review. I love reviews! Constructive criticism is always welcome. As are plot bunnies.
Hatter trembled as he felt the tea taking hold. He could feel his ability to lie dissolving away, a disconcerting enough feeling on its own. But there was something else too. His heart felt unbearably heavy in his chest. He felt like crying. He felt worthless and remorseful. Horror gripped him as he realized at last what the Honesty had been mixed with.
"Guilt?" His voice came across thickly, as though it was an effort to force the word out. "You laced the Honesty with Guilt?" He clenched his eyes shut as he felt the heat of tears behind them. His face did nothing to hide his agony.
Alice's face contorted with rage, and she wheeled to face Jack. "You did WHAT?" she screeched, lunging towards him. Two suits immediately sprang forward and restrained her, pulling her back several steps.
Jack turned toward her, his face an emotionless mask. "Alice, I don't think you should see this," he said calmly - too calmly. Then he nodded at the guards and they began to pull her toward the door. She gave a yell and wrenched one arm free, using it to hit one of the suits in the neck, before flipping the other over her shoulder onto the hard floor. But three more guards were on her in an instant, and she was successfully dragged through the door, screaming obscenities at Jack as she went.
The door closed behind them with an ominous click. Hatter panted and groaned, fully under the effects of the tea now, and they had just removed his one lifeline.
Jack leaned forward and planted a hand on either arm of Hatter's chair.
"Now tell us," he demanded, "how the tea got into the oyster world."
It was a warm evening, and Alice was sitting at the table in Hatter's flat, filling out paperwork for two of her judo students. They would be taking their tests soon – one to become a yellow belt, one to become a green.
Hatter had been sitting on the couch watching television, a little too loudly for Alice's liking, but she had managed to mostly tune it out. It was just the news on anyway. Hatter watched the news a lot, fascinated by the wealth of information he could glean from the "telly". When it came to learning anything about her world, Hatter was a sponge, absorbing everything he could. But for the moment he was otherwise occupied in the bathroom up the hall.
It had been two months since they had been reunited in Alice's world, and she was surprised at how quickly she had gotten used to him always being there, in her life, in her world. He just fit, amazingly well. It still plagued her sometimes, her old fear - that he would leave her, especially after some of the fights they still had (both having matching hot tempers). He was always quick to pull her in and assure her that he would never leave, that he couldn't leave her. And she hoped he was telling the truth. Because she was starting to not be able to imagine her life without him.
Alice put the pen down, and stood up, stretching her back. The TV really was loud, she thought, and walked over to the couch to pick up the remote.
"... newest rave drugs on the market have already caused the deaths of of three people. Called Bliss, Excitement and Desire, the drugs are reported to have the effect of heightening those emotions in the user..."
"HATTER!" Alice's shriek sounded unearthly, and froze the blood in Hatter's veins. The bathroom door flew open with a bang, and Hatter tore down the hallway, pants still around his knees. He had never heard a sound like that come out of her mouth. He was sure she was being attacked or dying or something horrible.
He found her, half perched on the armrest, mouth open, eyes wide, face white. She pointed at the TV screen, and he turned, uncertainly, toward it.
The image on the screen was of small eye-dropper vials of all-too-familiar colored liquids. And the calm voice of the reporter continuing, "... effects take hours to wear off, even in small doses, but seem to have no lasting effects. However police are warning that these drugs are dangerous and highly addictive, and they are asking the public to consider the potentially fatal consequences before trying these new highs. For three young people, it is already too late. Jennifer Stanton, reporting."
For a long moment, they both remained frozen, staring at the television in shocked silence. The news reporters had moved on to another topic, but neither of them noticed.
"Oh my... god," Alice finally intoned, her voice and hands shaking.
"Emotion teas," Hatter agreed, his voice far less steady as well. "How the hell...?" He blinked hard, and shook his head, his mind flying in ten different directions simultaneously. And he suddenly realized that his pants were still around his ankles. How he had made it this far without landing flat on his face, he didn't know.
Alice was still staring at the TV, so Hatter slowly reached over and clicked the remote, and the TV screen faded to black. She turned and looked at him then, her eyes full of fear and anger and shock.
"How did emotion tea get here? I thought it was all destroyed when the casino fell. And who would be crazy enough to sell human emotions to other humans? It's made from humans. That is just sick!" Her words started spilling over each other as they rushed from her mouth. "How can this be happening? This can't happen here."
Hatter reached for her, half to comfort her, half to calm his own racing mind. But she sidestepped his arms, not at all in the mood for a hug.
Instead, she violently grabbed the front of his shirt, and he feared for a moment that she was going to flip him onto the floor. "We have to do something, Hatter! We have to find out who's doing this. We can't let it... that... happen here." her voice started to trail off and her eyes got very bright and wet. Then she shook her head, anger back in her eyes. "I need to talk to Jack!"
Hatter bit his lip hard at the idea, even as he felt himself nodding, even as his mind reluctantly agreed. But it niggled him negatively that Jack was the first course of action Alice had come up with. He hadn't planned on her seeing Jack ever again. Heck, he hadn't planned on seeing Jack ever again. They were a world away from each other, and for that, he had been thankful.
And then it struck him. Would it even be possible to get a message to Jack? If all had gone according to the new king's plan, the looking glass would have been shut down weeks ago, to prevent rioting tea-heads from trying to get emotions from their source.
Alice was searching Hatter's face, waiting for him to come up with an answer, a plan, like he always seemed to do. But she didn't like what she was reading in his face, traces of... jealousy? Really, at a time like this? But also something else. Uncertainty. Reluctance maybe.
He cleared his throat. "We do need to get a message to Jack... we do! But I'm not sure how. The looking glass, they would've shut it down after that last visit. And I don't know any other way..."
"Maybe it will still be open!" Alice jumped on the slight possibility, immediately. If there was any chance at all, she was going to take it. It was her world, now, that was being threatened, and if there was anything she could do to stop it from turning into Wonderland...
Hatter noted the ferocity in Alice's face, and knew they would be going to the abandoned warehouse tonight, regardless. "I'll get me hat," he said finally.
Despite the warmth of the evening, the inside of the warehouse was cool, almost cold. The metal stairs clanged under their feet as they made their way toward the corridor that housed the looking glass.
Neither of them had said anything the entire way there. Alice was fighting back a little fear at the thought of returning to Wonderland – she had meant it when she had said, before returning to her world, that she had enough of Wonderland for a lifetime. It had changed her for the better, and had given her Hatter, but it had taken her father, and had been full of peril and fear and pain. And it was a world that had been thoroughly destroyed by emotion teas, the same teas that were, somehow, now being leaked to her world. That thought alone kept her moving forward, grim determination on her face.
Hatter was battling his own unease. What if something had happened on the other side of the looking glass? What if it wasn't safe? He suspected, since the teas were somehow getting through, that the looking glass might be active, but if it was, it might also mean that Jack no longer controlled the looking glass. Wonderland was a dangerous place normally. Add political upheaval to the list... this could really spell peril for him and Alice. Thoughts of all the dangers they had been through when they had last been there flooded his mind. He had nearly lost her so many times.
And then they stood, in front of the looking glass, the gold-gilded "mirror" that looked so out of place in the industrial setting. Their reflections stared back at them, looking tense and nervous.
Hatter pulled Alice slightly behind him, and reached a hand out, tentatively touching the surface of the glass.
It rippled slightly under his hand, his fingers moving beyond the surface.
It was still active.