Nicholas: Um...so I planned I writing something fast and, you know, light for my first venture into this wonderful fandom. Of course, I haven't slept all night and I ended up watching that torture scene (poor Hatter) over and over again because I'm a sadistic creep like that. So, this turned out like WAY darker than I intended. In fact, this may well be the darkest thing I've written, even taking into account my BDS and SPN stuff.

So the thing about this story is that I am writing another story and this one fits into that. It focuses mainly on Hatter's relationship with March before March lost his head, the climax of the story being when March loses his head and Hatter loses his mind. The Queen, being and uber Bitch with a capital B, decides she needs to fuck with Hatter just a little bit more to "keep him in line" so she sends him to the truth room. Because the first time I watched the miniseries, I thought the Twins were way to happy to see Hatter for it to be his first visit.

Oh, and my inference that Hatter is afraid of the Jabberwock sprang from...well, my fear of the Jabberwock. Been afraid of it ever since I first read the book. I know, I'm lame.

By the by, this is un-beta'd. All mistakes are my own.

Disclaimer: I'm not that crazy. I'm only this crazy. That is all them.

Rating: M...gore, violence, torture, over-all not-nice-to-Hatter-ness, and if you squint really hard there's a slash relationship between Hatter and March. I'm gonna wave bye to all the people that will navigate away from this page now that I've said that. Bye! For the rest of you, please enjoy. AND REVIEW!


March?

Yeah?

Why's a raven like a writing desk?

I don't know, why?

Hatter, why?

Why what?

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

What? I don't know. That's a silly question.

You're an idiot.


They knew all of his worst fears—not that there were many. He tried not to be afraid of too many things. It just wouldn't do if he was afraid of everything, and being afraid of nothing was a little farfetched and twice times mad. So, he preferred to be afraid of few things. Unfortunately, that preference seemed to make it easier for the Twin Sadists to find the really terrifying ones and put them up on the big screen in his mind's eye. Locked in his own head, he couldn't even begin to know where to fight back. Not my fault, he kept repeating, Whatever they say, s'not my fault. He stared down at the floor, trying to decide whether he wanted his eyes open—see what's coming—or closed—hide away. Honestly, it didn't matter, since he wasn't in control anyway. The attempt made him feel better though.

Propped up on his knees, fists pressing, digging into the floor, he spat out a mouthful for tangy, dark blood. He kept spitting. Hopefully the taste would go away if he kept sloshing it out. It didn't. Pain erupted from the left side of his skull—more blood. Just like they had in the past, he could feel every fragile bone in his right arm breaking, shattering; sharp fragments tore through the muscle and flesh until the limp mass hanging from his shoulder was unrecognizable. He choked, more blood. His eyes were watering, his throat worn ragged by the screams he could no longer voice.

"Help me," he rasped, "stop this…please."

"Answer the question."

"I don't know the answer! Please!" Too loud, too much air; his chest contracted painfully and cut him off mid-breath. The burning salt in his eyes was now a steady flow of tears. Leaning back on his calves, he cradled his wounded arm against his body. "I can't…I don't know."

He opened his eyes, face-to-face with a large, angry Jabberwock, and closed them again. Too late. The beast was already there, rank breath hot and sticky on his face. Not real, he told himself, wishing he'd believe it, Not real. No Jabberwocks outside of the Forest of Wabe. None. Can't be real. Please don't be real. When he felt the brush of rough, scaly skin on his cheek, he stopped. Everything stopped: his lungs, his heart, his shivers. He was more still than was possible, technically pulse-less and dead. The creature backed away.

"Hatter…"

A woosh of relieved breath caught moist and heavy in the back of his nose, bringing him to harsh coughs that brought him to the floor again. No, no, no, no, no. That's not fair. It's not my fault. He clenched his eyelids so hard they could have been bleeding. "No," he cried weakly.

He's late, he thought dismally, Two days slow, should butter your watch. Use the finest butter. The very finest. No crumbs, now. You're late. Almost missed your un-birthday party. I got you a hat. The very finest. I'll have a half cup of tea, if you don't mind. Out of treacle. Can't get treacle from a treacle well. Can't get water from a treacle well either. Absolutely two days slow. Once again, he stopped. A hand perched itself gently on the back of his head, stroking his hair, and he stopped completely. He stopped more fully than he had the first time.

"Hey, Hatter."

But Hatter didn't say anything because even his mind had stopped. Maybe if it stayed stopped they would leave him alone. Can't have any fun inside a head that's all stopped. The fingers on his scalp dug in softly, massaging repetitive little motions into his flesh. It felt nice yet confusing. Every part of his ached, and his arm was screeching in agony, but that touch was so sweet, so light. Not right, not right, he thought, and everything started up again.

"Please," he moaned beseechingly.

"Look at me, Hatter," the voice demanded.

"No…" With a stubborn set to his jaw, Hatter kept his gaze locked firmly on his mangled right hand where it lay useless on the floor. His arm was falling off…again.

"Look at me."

"I can't."

"Now!"

Whimpering, Hatter blinked back his tears and forced open his eyes. He was absolutely mortified at the idea of lifting his head, looking up, and seeing. He didn't want to see. He was late for tea time, he need to get back to the table. Please, the Doormouse fell asleep in the teapot again. To stall a little longer, he wiped at the snot dribbling from his nose with the back of his hand.

The fingers in his hair tightened and yanked, dragging his body so fast, too fast. Every joint in his spine seemed to creak and protest and his limp arm swung painfully against his thigh. He obediently looked up, trying to abate the high-pitched squeaks that tore out of him with every breath. The sight was devastating.

March stood there, his head completely fine, still attached to his neck. In fact, he looked healthier than ever. His eyes were bright and sharp, hair longer, face a bit softer, minus all the worry-lines. Hell, one would go so far as to say "pretty." At least, Hatter might, if it weren't for the punishing grip on his hair and the deadly glint of the knife in his hand. He moved slowly, down to one knee where he could look the Hatter in the eyes and press the sharp side of the blade snug against the base of his throat.

"Ya gotta answer," March stated. He almost sounded empathetic—Hatter could have laughed. "Just tell them and they'll let you go."

As much as Hatter knew that that was a bold-faced lie, he didn't argue. All he could do was hiss roughly when the skin on his throat began to give a little under the blade. Warm and wet trickled down his collar into his shirt. "I don't know," he insisted bleakly, "I don't know."

"Tell them and they'll let me go too."

A new batch of burning tears welled up behind Hatter's face at those words. That was a LIE with a capital everything. That wasn't even trying to seem realistic and tangible; it wasn't possible. There was a vast difference between the manifestations inside his head and the resurrection of his friend in reality. Still, Hatter found himself distraught with the unfairness of it. He wanted that—oh how he wanted it—but he couldn't have it. They knew he couldn't, knew that he didn't know. It wasn't fair!

Looking up into March's cool, ocean-blue eyes, Hatter sobbed uncontrollably. "I'm sorry," he blubbered, "I'm so sorry. I can't… I can't!"

March heaved a dense sigh and sheaved his knife. While he stood, he brought a handful of Hatter's hair with him—and unfortunately the rest of the reluctant Hatter that was attached. He began walking along the empty hallway, dragging his wounded, old comrade behind.

"Please," Hatter begged with a broken voice, "Please, Marchy, please. Stop this. I can't, I can't, I don't know!"

Starting to go numb, Hatter tangled feebly with the iron grip on his head. He tried not to look back, tried his damnedest not to look down at himself. He knew what he would see, knew what was no longer attached to his right shoulder and he didn't want to see. A voice in the back of his head spoke up from a long time ago in his past. Queen'll fix you up, right as rain. You'll see, Hatsy. She's got this Carpenter guy, can put you back together. Give you a new arm, stronger, better. You'll see. Just hang on.

March jerked him forward a little, eliciting a harsh groan from the wounded man. "Tell them, Hatter," he insisted, "Tell them why."

Hatter cried quietly, every inch of his body aching. When he looked up on a whim, he could see the Jabberwock at the end of the hall; he knew that March was taking him there. He struggled meekly, twisting as much as his sore body would allow.

"Please," he started up again, "I can't—I don't—please, March, please! Don't do this. Don't know, I don't know!"

"Why, Hatter?"

"I don't know!"

"Why!"

"I DON'T KNOW!"

With a heavy thud and a delicate whimper, Hatter flopped down to the floor again. He scrambled with one arm to turn, twist, lift his head up, needed to see what was coming, needed to run. Except that he didn't. There was no Jabberwock. The giant of a beast was gone, not a honking cry to be heard. In its place stood an even more terrifying and vile creature—all Hatter could do was swallow shakily. The Queen of Hearts.

"Last chance, Hatter," March stated calmly, as he knelt down before her. "Why?" The knife came out with a flash and a schwink.

"Don't, March. Please, I'm begging you, mate. Don't do this, you don't have to, please. Please! I don't know, please!" March put the knife up to his own throat this time, not looking at Hatter, nor the Queen. His eyes were locked somewhere in the dark expanse of the hall. He smirked lightly. "No, no, no, no, no…no, March, no! Please! I don't know, I don't know! Please!"

Hatter's mouth snapped shut involuntarily and a heavy presence behind him grasped him by both of his arms to hold him still. He couldn't look away, wasn't allowed, wasn't able. All he could do was watch in abject horror as the blade dug into March's flesh. Mad March reached up with his free hand and held onto his hair as he, himself, proceeded to cut off his head.

Not my fault! Hatter's conscience screamed, hoarse with denial. It wasn't my fault, I tried to stop him. Wasn't my fault!

One last time, everything that was the Hatter stopped. There was no sound in the room except for the haggard pants as Marched work and the gentle crack when the man began to saw at his spine. Blood poured out from the growing wound, flowing down March's body like a crimson, satin curtain, delicate and beautiful. There was a squish sound as an artery erupted, sending a spray of scarlet up and out, painting the air and Hatter's face with the tangy blood. Snap the spinal cord severed and the knife glided through the rest rather easily. Headless and kneeling, March dropped the blade to clatter on the floor before presenting his severed head to the Queen of Hearts. Once she took it, March's lifeless body crumpled to the floor, heart spurting out a couple more sprays of thick liquid before all was still again.

Dr. Dee, or was it Dr. Dum, put his voice right next to his ear and spoke with that evil, oily tone, nice and slow as if to be sure that the Hatter understood him. "Why is a raven like a writing desk?"


Surprisingly enough, when the Twins de Sade tossed him out of the Truth Room like a lifeless sack of potatoes, he still had all of his limbs and most of his superficial wounds were minor and did little more than sting. Still, Hatter lay there, on the cold tile floor of the Casino's hallway, for as long as he possibly could before he tried to move. Echoes of the agony reverberated around his body, and the trauma in his mind…He felt empty. Like those two freaks had cut him open and scooped out everything of him that made him who he was. Tears still burned the corners of his eyes and all the way down his cheeks and neck. His left temple was caked with blood and one of his toes may have been broken. It wasn't worth keeping his head. In fact, he didn't want the damn thing anymore. Queen Bitch could have it, nail it to her fucking wall for all he cared. There was nothing left to salvage this time anyway.

Shakily, Hatter reached across the floor in front of him to where one of them had idly tossed his hat. He cradled it against his chest as he struggled, one-handed, to push himself up again. So maybe he'd just been tortured past his breaking point and raped in every sense of the word but the physical one; maybe he'd just been punished for the Queen's fancy and he hadn't been strong enough to fight it; maybe he looked like hell warmed over. He was going to walk out of here, damn it. He was going to get to his stupid, aching feet, and limp as steady as he could all the way back to his teashop. Once he'd straightened his back and managed to find his balance, he saw almost an entire suit of Diamonds and Hearts each staring at him with wide-eyes.

He could have cried—curled up into a little ball and just let himself waste away and die. They were looking at him, they were all staring at him; they knew what he'd done, they knew why. And even if they didn't, the fact that they still managed to judge him was bad enough. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried not to make a fool of himself by breaking down in front of about twenty women. Ten…nine…eight… after every number he took a deep breath and let it out slow as he could. …three…two…one.

Without looking up again, he plopped his hat on his head, adjusted his tie and turned to walk away.


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