Author's Note: This is the start of what is going to be a rather long, arduous journey. While make no mistakes that this is my first long chapter-fic, I got a GREAT prompt from the anon meme and an amazing story planned out, and I swear to everything that is good in the world that I will do it justice. I've got some great, no, BETTER than great betas, and I swear to you all who are taking your time to read this, that you will not be disappointed!

Ch. 1 Trigger Warning: Brief mentions of rape.

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"One of the secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others."

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|GOTHAM ACADEMY
|MARCH 29, 3:15 PM EST

The final Thursday bell at Gotham Academy rang at precisely 3:05 PM, and the school was immediately bustling with students anxious to get home. Barbara Gordon made her way to the main entrance of the school, and stopped to lean on one of the support pillars, waiting. After a few minutes, she managed to spot the person she was looking for: Dick Grayson. Frustratingly enough, he was lurking behind that scholarship sophomore, Artemis Crock, again. Barbara huffed.

Dick crept up behind the oblivious Artemis, skilled as always at masking his footfalls, and slipped something into the side pocket of her messenger bag. Artemis apparently noticed this, however, and she whipped around, but Dick had already disappeared…he was stealthy like that. Barbara didn't know what the piece of paper Dick had slipped her said, but she could guess that it was something meant to mess with her. Barbara rolled her eyes as Dick magically appeared at her side, grinning like the dork he was.

"Now what on earth was thatabout, Dick?" she inquired, arms crossed over her chest.

"Nothing! Nothing! Just being – "

"'Friendly'?" Barbara finished. He'd given that excuse before. "She's not really a new girl anymore, Dick, and you could cut her some slack!"

Dick pretended to look taken aback for a moment. "You wound me, Babs!" He dropped the playful facade and folded his arms over his chest, trademark smirk never leaving his face. "And you know I would never give her a hard time. All the stuff I do is harmless, I swear! She's just...fun to mess with."

Barbara rolled her eyes again. "Sure," she drawled. "But she probably gets enough from everybody else about being a scholarship kid. I don't think she needs you 'messing' with her." The two of them started walking out of the school together as they talked.

Dick's features relaxed as he spoke more seriously. "Come on, Barbara. You know that that would never, ever be the reason I mess with her. Neither of us are exactly socialite material."

Barbara gave him an incredulous look.

"Lighten up. You know what I mean."

Barbara gave a little huff, but smiled. "Yeah, I know, circus freak," she teased, before whacking him lightly upside the head. Other people called him that to demean him, but Barbara had taken to repurposing it into something more playful and endearing. She knew Dick was, and should be, proud of his heritage, no matter what he lived like now. It was one of the reasons Barbara respected him so much.

Other reasons notwithstanding…

Dick checked his smart phone, and suddenly looked sullen. "Uh… sorry, Babs, I… I gotta go."

"'Go'?" Barbara repeated, perplexed. "But we are going. To your place. To study. Right?" she reminded him.

Dick rubbed the back of his neck. "I-I know, but...I'm probably going to have to skip out this time," he said. He seemed legitimately apologetic. "I've just…got a lot on my plate right now, I guess…a lot on my mind. Bruce just left again today, and…"

Barbara sighed. Dick did this sometimes – ditched her, left her hanging with little warning, etc. She blamed it on him being too over-committed for his own good, but sometimes, she wondered…

Then Barbara remembered the date. March 29th. And that Dick was not in his usual peppy mood. "Oh," she said, a small sense of realization dawning on her. Dick always turned morose around this time of year; it had taken a while for her to get it out of him, but she had learned some time ago that it was because this was around the anniversary of his family's...accident.

Her features softened. "Alright, then. I guess I'll just go home. Surprise my dad."

Right on cue, a black limo pulled up to the curb in front of them, Alfred in the driver's seat. "All by yourself?" Dick remarked, his more confident demeanor returning. "How about a ride home?" he offered. It was beyond sweet. Dick was probably worried – there had been reports of lots of younger girls mysteriously going missing over the past few weeks.

But he really needn't have bothered. "Nah." She waved him off. "You go enjoy your alone time. You know I can handle myself just fine," she said, pulling him into a headlock. Barbara Gordon was not some damsel in distress – gymnastics, martial arts, and self-defense training from her dad made her quite capable of handling herself, thank you very much. Dick knew she was quite a force to be reckoned with.

Dick laughed and managed to wriggle out of her hold. "Well, if you say so," he said, and Alfred was there, opening the limo door for his charge to enter. The butler gave Barbara a wink and a smile as Dick ducked into the car.

The limo drove off, and Barbara was left alone. She sighed and began to make her way home, walking through the crowded streets of day-time Gotham. Barbara didn't live on the rich side of town like Dick did – her father might be the police commissioner, but his salary wasn't thatextraordinary.

The commish wasn't expecting her home till late, so there was no reason for her to hurry. She stopped at a shop every once in a while, made mental notes to go buy something later, and even chatted a bit with some employees. Before she knew it, the sun was setting, and she still wasn't home yet.

The last thing Barbara wanted was to be on the streets after sundown in the less…wealthy part of Gotham, even if she could handle herself. She quickly decided to take a shortcut down an alleyway, maybe even climb up onto the rooftops. (Barbara never let her dad know that she went up there all the time - she liked it, but he would probably worry that it was too dangerous. Hah. He worried too much.) She quickened her pace to try and make up for lost time.

Striding briskly down the shadowed alleyway, out of the corner of her eye Barbara noticed a small figure huddled by a pile of garbage bags. She slowed down to get a closer look.

It was a little girl with long blond hair, wearing a black headband and a dirty, ratty blue dress. She sat with her legs held snugly to her torso, and her face buried in her knees. The girl was very cute in a heart wrenching sort of way, and Barbara could just tell that she was probably lost, or scared, or alone…She walked up to the girl, whom she noticed was shaking and sniffling softly. Oh, the poor thing…

"Hey there," Barbara cooed as softly as she could, standing in front of the girl and bending over to look down at her. "Are you okay?" the girl didn't look up at her, and just continued to sniffle. "Are you lost?" she continued to ask. "There's no need to be scared." Barbara crouched down to the girl's height. "My dad's a police officer. I'm sure he'll be able to help you. Would you like that?"

The girl stopped sniffling and stilled. Barbara smiled and reached her hand out to try touching her. She was getting through after all-

And that's when the girl began to laugh.

It was a high-pitched giggle that picked up in frequency the longer she laughed. It was beyond unnerving. "What's so funny…?" Barbara asked, completely unsettled. Her hand paused in mid air as the girl's laughter seemed to only get louder and louder. No… it was like the laughter was everywhere.

Something was wrong. Really, really wrong.

Barbara frantically whipped her head around and gasped. More figures began emerging from the shadows, all girls with the same blond hair and blue dress as the girl sitting in front of her. They were walking slowly, purposefully; they surrounded her as they all laughed the same high-pitched cackle. Her insides clenched with fear, but she didn't dare move. She could run, but what if that triggered them into attacking...?

"Who…who are you?" she demanded, hoping to distract them somehow or find out what they wanted. She carefully adjusted her footing, shifting her weight and allowing her muscles to grow tense in preparation for a quick getaway. The laughter pierced through the air and assaulted her ears, making it hard for her to concentrate, but she attempted to keep herself calm and focused. Barbara examined her surroundings and shot a quick glance towards the girl in front of her. She bit back a startled shriek.

"ALICE," answered all of the girls in unison, and the one whom Barbara had been talking to abruptly raised her head from between her knees. Plastered on her face were horrifyingly blank, staring eyes and an inhuman, toothy grin that spread nearly from ear to ear.

"ALICE."

Barbara shrieked when the girl's arm suddenly struck out like a snake, latching onto her previously outstretched wrist with a vice-like grip. Without any further warning all of the girls swiftly closed in on her, and no matter how hard she tried to get away, they grabbed at her with their small but unrelenting hands and held her fast, pulling her back, all of them grinning and giggling and chanting 'ALICE, ALICE, ALICE'.

Barbara screamed, hoping someone might hear her; she tried to fight them off, kicking and scratching, thrashing and yanking at their hair and clothes. But they were too small and too unyielding, like dolls of iron, and there were too many of them climbing onto her and holding her down -

"HELP-!" she yelled, but a hand wrapped around her head and covered her mouth, gagging her, and suddenly she had no energy at all, couldn't move, couldn't breathe-

Her vision started to blur, and the last thing she saw was a larger figure walking slowly towards her...a deeper chuckle was added to the cacophony that seemed to echo everywhere, bouncing around in her skull, drowning out everything else-

ALICE…ALICE…

…ALICE…

…COME JOIN US, ALICE.

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|THE BATCAVE
|MARCH 30, 6:47 PM EDT

"Th-thank you for calling and telling me about this, Dick."

"Commissioner, I'm so sorry, I should have-"

"You don't need to worry about a thing. This could be nothing, but if it's not, you can bet I will stop at nothing until I've found her."

"A-alright..."

-click-

The other end of the phone call disconnected, and Robin sat for a few seconds, just listening to the dial tone. He sighed and ended the call, sliding his smartphone back into his jacket pocket. The Boy Wonder sat wearing his casual civilian clothing in front of the batcomputer, sifting through megabyte after megabyte of information. News articles, police records, traffic camera footage, and lines of code all flitted across the gigantic monitor.

"My, isn't this shocking," drawled Alfred, whom Robin had barely notice approach. "A fine, healthy young man wasting away inside of a dark cave, glaring at a computer screen." Robin didn't outwardly indicate that he was listening, but the butler knew he was. "Might I inquire as to what business is so urgent that you couldn't be bothered to take a break for supper?"

"Barbara." Robin kept his voice steady despite his anxiety. "She wasn't at school today."

Alfred quirked an eyebrow. "I understand your concern, Master Dick, but I do believe that alone is hardly cause for alarm. She could have simply, as young people call it, 'played hookey'."

"Babs doesn't 'play hookey'," Robin practically growled. "I just called the commissioner. She never came home last night." He let out a shuddering sigh, massaging his temples. "He didn't worry then because he figured she was here, studying..." Robin cupped his face in his hands, leaning his elbows on the desktop. He kept his breathing under control and leaned back in his seat, pushing his fingers up through his hair.

"Something's happened to her, Alfred. I know it." With a few deft keystrokes, more data flashed across the computer screen, bringing up over a dozen photos of young girls with the bold red message 'MISSING' displayed underneath each of their names. "These are all the missing girls - the reported ones, at least - from the last 6 weeks." Robin frowned as "Gordon, Barbara"'s photo slid in next to 'Mansfield, Laura'. Babs had been missing for at least 24 hours, now - the minimum wait time required before filing a missing persons report. The commissioner hadn't wasted any time, then.

"The GCPD, Bats, and I are all positive that these are serial abductions... and Babs fits the abductee spec patterns to a 'T'." A few clicks later, the picture columns expanded to reveal other information about each of the girls. Race, age, hair color, eye color, background, etc. "All are light-skinned young girls, ages ranging from 8 to 15 years old. Most of them have blonde hair, but obviously our abductor has been getting less picky lately." The contempt and fury in his lowered voice was so thick you could probably slice through it like butter.

Robin glared at the out-of-date picture of Barbara. The photo was surprisingly candid - the photographer had probably tried to make her laugh so the photo wouldn't look like a mugshot. 13-year-old Barbara smiled lightheartedly at him, completely oblivious to 14-year-old Barbara's plight... revealing nothing about where hisBarbara was right now, or what she actually looked like at that moment. There were no photos, anywhere, that would show him what he wanted to see - and his imagination took over.

His gut clenched as his mind conjured images of what she must have really looked like right then. Screaming, beaten and bloody, dying, or — or...Robin tried not to think about it. The implications... someone who took young girls off the streets, like a ravenous predator, used them up as he saw fit and disposed of them, moving on to the next one...

He tried not to think of the rapes he and Batman had stopped. Of the ones they were too late for; the ones that Batman always told him to not look at. But he'd looked anyway. He practically begged his mind not to overlap the images of those bodies with Babs' face -

Robin felt a gentle hand on his shoulder. He hadn't even realized his eyes were closed until they snapped open. His breathing was irregular and he could feel himself trembling slightly. Robin focused his gaze on the computer screen, on the lines of numbers, of zeroes and ones, and concentrated on regulating his breathing.

"Perhaps, Master Dick, it would be wise for you to take a break in favor of something to eat? Hmm?" Alfred suggested, keeping his firm, grounding grip on his shoulder.

Robin shook his head. "No," he said. "Although... some tea would be nice, Alfred."

Alfred gave him a worried look, but backed off, removing his hand from his shoulder. "I will tend to it immediately, sir."

"...Thanks, Alfie," Robin muttered meekly at the butler's retreating form. He caught a small smile grace Alfred's features as he exited the cave.

Now it was time to focus. Robin looked back at the photo of Barbara. It was... alright... and it would do, for now. It didn't matter where she was or what she was doing - because he would find her. No matter what it took. He wouldn't - couldn't, not anybody else, never again- lose her.

Something beeped, and one of the many traffic and security camera feeds that flashed across his screen grew large, activated by the facial recognition software. There! A bank's entrance security camera had caught sight of Babs across the street. From it, he could see that she had entered a local retail store at around 4:00 PM yesterday. He noted the name of the store and immediately set to hacking into its company network to gain access to its security footage.

There were at least five different vantage points in the small store. He fast-forwarded the footage as there wasn't much to see. Babs had walked around the shop, looked at clothes, and chatted with the cashier and other employees. Robin was silently wondering whyon earth she hadn't headed straight home, but pushed those thoughts out of his head in order to focus on the task at hand.

She had left the store at around 4:30 PM, and Robin opened up a map of Gotham to keep track of the area that he was currently watching her progress in. He hacked into as many security systems as he could to make sure he had some footage of her for as much of her journey as possible. Nothing spectacular had happened; she'd walked into another shop for ten minutes, but when the cameras' time displays began to read to around 17:00, the sun had probably started to set and the streets in the new area were thinning out. And now he had to hack into another network to get some more vantage points. He sighed.

Robin's attention wavered from Barbara, and made its way to some of the many, smaller video displays that he had yet to close. That's when he happened to notice that one of the employees from that first retail store had been loitering around about a block behind where Babs had been walking.

Now what on earth had he been doing there?

Suspicion flared up within him, and Robin rapidly pulled up all of his footage to search for this new mystery man. Turned out, not twenty minutes had passed since Babs left that store when the employee left and started to casually follow her. At 5:13 PM, she had walked into an alleyway, and hadn't come out. No matter how hard Robin searched, he couldn't find a way to see what had happened in that alley - there were no traffic or security cameras that had seen anything of what went on in there.

Around 5:15 PM, mystery man himself had walked into a different alleyway and hadn't come back out. Robin wasn't sure how, but it was obvious that this manwas the one who had Barbara. And who had probably taken all of those other girls, too.

But who was he?

Many of the cameras that had caught him on tape were low-quality and/or caught him at a bad angle. Robin had to do some serious searching before he found some good footage of him - in the very same store, before Barbara had even entered it. Mystery man had walked out of the store's bathroom, adjusted the blue cap on his head, and looked around the room. There was a security camera trained straight on the bathroom door, and when the man had looked around, he faced the camera directly for about half a second. Got him!

Pause, zoom, enhance. Run facial recognition program. Wait a few seconds. A red box singled out the man's face, and photos of possible identity matches flashed by faster than Robin's eyes could see them. As the search narrowed down its results, the profiles slowed, until finally only one remained.

He was an unhappy and strange looking man with blonde hair and buck teeth; he looked familiar. The photo expanded to reveal more about his identity - which was bolded in red.

NAME: JERVIS TETCH
ALIAS: MAD HATTER
WARNINGS: PSYCHOTIC, OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE, ADVANCED NEUROTECHNICIAN. PROPENSITY FOR VIOLENCE USUALLY LOW, BUT EXTREMELY UNPREDICTABLE.

"Oh, my," said Alfred from behind him. Robin turned to see the butler carrying a tray with his requested tea. "This is quite a discovery."

Slowly turning back to face the computer screen once more, thoughts raced through Robin's head. "Yeah..."

Barbara was okay. 'Low propensity for violence' was right; while he was too psychotic to be beyond murder, Mad Hatter liked children too much to harm them.

"It was so obvious! How did we not see this before?" Robin groaned. "Tetch must be getting smarter, more careful. He's been taking the girls with mind-control! That's why he's been able to snatch so many with so little resistance. The girls probably walk right off the street and into the palm of his hand."

Batman's files on Mad Hatter opened up on the screen. Kidnapping children was certainly in Hatter's M.O., but he couldn't control someone's mind by just looking at them; he had to have indiscriminately planted some sort of device on their person so he could manipulate them from afar. But when had he planted it on Babs? She'd talked to him for a few minutes, but they never touched - even after examining all their interactions as closely as he could, calm and meticulous as he sipped his tea, he couldn't see that Hatter had ever planted anything on her. Given that failure on his part, it would follow that he'd been forced to tail her instead, and Babs had then proceeded to walk down a deserted alleyway of her own volition.

Robin suppressed a groan.

It wasn't Babs' fault; she couldn't have known. Although it might not have been the smartest move, people shouldn't be waiting in alleyways to attack and abduct young girls in the first place.

Wait. Attack.

Nobody had been able to figure out what had happened to any of the missing girls because of the complete lack of any sort of clues to follow. The girls had all just vanished into thin air. They were never in a place where they weren't supposed to be, there was never anything unusual about them that anyone had noticed, no signs of struggle, no evidence left behind, nothing. Now Robin knew why: they'd just walked directly into Tetch's waiting arms.

But this time, Mad Hatter had been forced to follow Barbara and attack her when she was alone - giving Robin something that none of the other cases had given. A crime scene.

Within a minute he'd nearly finished suiting up, tea forgotten on the desktop. "I'm going on patrol, Alfred."

"So early?" His tone was dripping with sarcasm. "It's admirable how eager you are to jump in front of hooligans with firearms. On an empty stomach, no less."

"You know what I'm going to investigate." Robin was stuffing his utility belt with as many investigative gadgets as he could - a portable DNA scanner, a mask with infrared and ultraviolet visual settings, etc.

"And it can't wait a few moments for you to eat something?"

"No, it - " Alfred stared him down, a tray of food already in his hands.

"...fine."

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|GOTHAM CITY
|MARCH 30, 9:43 PM EDT

With Batman out of the country on some super-secret Justice League mission requiring absolute radio silence, Robin was completely on his own in Gotham for the next day or so. Sure, the Dark Knight would be back by April 1st for a Wayne foundation 'April Fool's Day' charity function (Bruce Wayne was 'out on a business trip'), but that didn't change anything about Robin's duties.

Batman had never said it out loud, but Robin was sure he was expected to keep patrolling Gotham's streets, even without his mentor there. He felt pride swell in his chest - Batman trusted only him to protect his city. Not the Flash, not Superman, just Robin.

That didn't make patrolling on his own any easier. On his way to the alley he wanted to investigate, he'd been forced to stop twoassaults, a mugging, and a robbery. If he came across anything else, he'd skip the theatrics and just douse them all in sleeping gas.

"And we've finally arrived," Robin whispered to himself, flipping off of the rooftops and landing gracefully on the crumbling alley pavement.

The alley was barren save for a dumpster, a pile of garbage bags, and a fire escape. With just his eyes, Robin couldn't see much of note in the dark. He immediately opened up his glove computer and activated his mask's ultraviolet filter mode. His computer was tasked with scanning the area while he himself combed it with his eyes.

Time passed by swiftly without uncovering anything of use to him. Even a search through the dumpster and a thorough scan of the garbage pile didn't yield anything promising. Robin was getting desperate - surely there was something here? Would he have to resort to getting down on his hands and knees to search the entire alley floor with a magnifying glass?

Frustrated, Robin sat down for a moment and leaned against the alley wall. He turned his mask's filter off; seeing everything in blues and purples was giving him a headache. The garbage pile was next to him, but he couldn't bring himself to care about the stench, and he even found himself leaning against it. After sitting there for a while, allowing both the futility of this lead and the chilly night air to seep into him, he finally got up and left.

Back at the batcave, Robin took his time suiting down, feeling pretty lousy. It was bad enough that he'd wasted all of his time, but now he was no closer to finding Barbara (and the other girls...and Hatter) than he was before. Now he'd have to think up some other plan...

Wait. What was that snagged on his utility belt?

Bringing his belt into a more well-lit area of the cave, Robin took out a pair of tweezers and plucked the thing off. It was a small piece of cloth - blue and frayed. It looked as if it had gotten caught on something and been torn away.

It was awkward to be standing there with half of his suit off, so he quickly shed the rest and didn't even bother putting anything new on before he sat down to figure out where had the blue cloth come from. Where on earth would this have gotten caught on his utility belt? None of the criminals he'd fought or the people he'd saved had been wearing anything even remotely resembling it.

Perhaps...in the alley, then? That made the most sense. It definitely wasn't there before he went out, and there was no other time during the night when his utility belt could have snagged anything like it. If that was the truth, then this could be a lead! Swallowing his excitement, Robin felt a bit disappointed in himself that he hadn't managed to find it without the help of Lady Luck. But he wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Robin quickly started up a computer to scan the object, and rushed to put clothes on before Alfred showed up. Who knows what the butler would have done if he saw his charge sitting in a cave wearing nothing but his underwear?

When Robin returned, the scan results were already displayed on the computer screen. It wasn't anything extraordinary - it was probably a piece of some well-worn item of clothing. However...with what the scan revealed about its origins, it seemed to be a very special type of fabric, sold at a select few locations in Gotham as clothes. One of them was a specialty shop that sold mostly victorian-style dresses and suits in a seedier part of town.

When Robin looked up the store, he discovered it was pretty low-tech. It didn't have much of a security system or network to hack into, nor any form of wireless connection to hack through. The whole area itself was pretty shady, too; there were no security or traffic cameras anywhere nearby. If he wanted to find out anything about that store, he'd have to go there in person.

"What on earth is that putrid odor?"

...but apparently, that would have wait.

"Did you decide to take a leisurely dip in the sewerstonight, Master Dick?" Alfred said, somehow both aghast and condescending in his usual regal manner.

"Uh...no, but I did go through a lot of trash..."

"You are taking a shower this instant and then scurrying off to bed," Alfred took a look at Robin's suit and sniffed it. For brief moment he allowed his face to contort into an expression of disgust, but his usual composure returned. "And I suppose this will require a bit of extra washing..." he picked the suit up with as few fingers as possible and held it away from him, muttering to himself.

"I'll take the shower, sure, but I've finally got a good lead, I can't just -"

"Young master." Alfred's tone was so urgent that Robin nearly snapped to attention and saluted, "While I may be able to do little to inhibit Master Bruce, as he is technically an adult, from gallivanting around at all hours of the night with little regard for his health, and while he may think it perfectly alright to expect similar of you..." he dropped his Robin suit in the high-power washer with a brief look of contempt on his face. "You are a young, growing boy, and so long as I am the one solely responsible for you in this household, you will be getting a minimum of five hours sleep. Is that clear?"

Daringly, Robin attempted to stand his ground. "But, Babs-!"

"Is that clear?"

Robin rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly, sighing in defeat. "...crystal."

"Very good," chirped Alfred, obviously pleased with himself. "I'm sure Miss Gordon will be perfectly alright, Master Dick. What's more, you will be able to search for her with far greater efficiency once you're rested."

Robin nodded, seeing the logic behind his words, and trying to ignore the nagging feeling in his gut. "Yeah. I guess you're right...she's...probably fine."

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|QUEEN OF HEARTS SPECIALTY GARMENTS
|MARCH 31, 1:05 AM EST

"Oh, Frabjous day! Calloh, callay! Are we not enjoying ourselves, my dearests?"

A measured, stiff chorus of applause answered him, resounding around the cluttered dining table, slightly rattling the china of the teacups in their saucers. The old, rickety table creaked loudly in protest as Jervis stood on top of his plush chair and placed one foot on the tabletop, taking off his bowler hat and sweeping into a bow.

"Thank you, thank you! But there really is no cause for applause, you silly girls. I am simply doing my sworn duty to Gotham! After a stint of hard work, we are finally joined tonight by our newest Alice, who's now certain allegiance to our daring cause is no doubt causing quite the stir in our resident G-C-P-D!" he swiftly grabbed the hand of the girl sitting next to him on small wooden stool, raising it high up into the air to another round of enthusiastic applause.

"'Oh, but Mr. Hatter', you must be wanting to ask," Jervis jumped onto the table, causing plenty of tea cups to topple over, but none had any actual tea in them to spill. The sudden movement caused the candles set up around the dark, dank room to flicker, making the shadows in the room dance in that way that made Jervis love working by candlelight. "'Why bother with those old, humorless bandersnatches? With our dear darling commissioner Gordon? What on earth is your brilliant plan?' Why? Oh, I'll tell you why!"

Jervis's mood quickly turned sour, frustrated anger gleaming in his eyes. "Mr. Commissioner and that overgrown, flying mouse seem to have quite a...a thing, going on, wouldn't you know it. Imagine, what distress our rodent friend must be feeling, flying around, trying to find his comrade's little girl!" He took a moment to chuckle before kicking a cracked, empty candle staff off of the table to smash against a wall.

"Whoops! I must be getting ahead of myself. Breaking all of our nice things, now that's right out." Hatter calmly sat down directly on the tabletop, right in front of the Gordon girl herself, who now looked wonderful in a blonde wig and her own blue dress. She looked quite adorable. Though, it was rather sad that none of his Alices could have that curious glint in their eyes which an Alice rightly ought to have. Mind control didhave its unfortunate drawbacks...

...ah, well.

"You know, Alice, I've been working on far more than just getting the bat's attention." Silence greeted him in response; the Gordon girl's eyes barely shifted to look at him at all. Stiff as a statue - not very Alice-like at all. On the other hand though, quite well-behaved! "'What is it', you ask? Well, Alice, imagine - just try to imagine, though it must be difficult for you, what with the state you're in..."

Jervis hopped off the table and walked around his newest Alice, wrapping his arm around her shoulders like they were the best of pals. "Imagine, dear girl, a way for me to give you anything you wanted. A miraculous machine that could take you straight to Wonderland! Can you imagine it, Alice? All I'd ask in return would be a smidgen - I admit, perhaps more than a smidgen, but I digress - of control over the shellyou leave behind!"

"But can you imagine it, Alice? You could have whatever you wanted - however you dream it up, it's yours."

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Author's Note: There's chapter one, finally! Now, I'm going to ask very kindly that you review, not because I want attention persay, but because I'm interested to see what you guys think, maybe see some of you're theories as to where the story will go, etc. PLEASE give me your thoughts! Even if it's just a moment you particularly liked, or something that confused you. I'd like to be able to continue to write good things in the future!

(PS: If you're Lewis Carroll-savvy, you're services would be greatly appreciated! Just message me if you'd like to help! I'd like some assistance in gathering useful quotes.)