fandom: SyFy's Alice
characters: Jack, Alice, Hatter
summary: set at the end of part II; As Jack Heart stands in the room with the Looking Glass, watching as Alice says her goodbyes and leaves for her world, he wonders about his love for her and what it really meant.
disclaimer: the characters in this story are the property of SyFy and Nick Willing and are only used for fan related purposes.
Jack remembers the first time he ever saw her.
It was shortly after he crossed over to the other side of the Looking Glass. Another Resistance insider, one a little lower in the hierarchy, had been sent over to search for the one key to bringing down the Queen of Hearts and her reign of instant gratification: Carpenter’s daughter from his old life in the other world. When the insider found her, a young dark-haired woman called Alice, he sent for Jack. Jack came immediately when called, in disguise and ready to act; dealing with this particularly oyster was what he’d been chosen by Caterpillar for. A daughter’s aid for a son’s rebellion.
She was sitting alone in a coffee shop, when he first saw her, sipping a coffee—black—and leafing absently through a textbook. Her eyes were alert, ever present of her surroundings, and Jack had to slip sideways twice to make sure she didn’t catch him staring. She was, almost unexpectedly, quite beautiful. Her wide blue eyes, unblinking, the thick dark hair, the enigmatic smile… beautiful.
He followed her over the next few days, learning everything about her that he could. She was a student, a bit high strung in his opinion but confident. Independent. She worked part-time teaching karate, went to school for too much of the morning and spent many of her evenings with her mother in the apartment they shared. Jack waited until he thought he knew enough about the girl before orchestrating an “accidental” meeting.
Their first date was three days later. Jack remembers being more nervous than he had been in years.
Like a puzzle with all the proper pieces, everything seemed to fall into place after that. Each date was a perfect fit, each day they spent together another step closer to him accomplishing his aims. He took far too many karate classes—he wondered if his back would ever recover—and he drank far too many cups of coffee, but in the end Jack was successful. He gained her favor, offering his own back in return, and, for the first time in a long while, Jack was happy. So happy, in fact, that when Alice invited him over to have dinner with her mother, he barely remembered a motive other than impressing Mrs. Hamilton.
But everything changed that last night. The feeling he was being followed, the sunglasses-covered man who watched as he bought roses, the forewarning in a text message from another Resistance member working in this world… it was all over, his act and his charade. He tried to convince Alice to come with him, even going so far as to offer the ring in a thinly veiled bribe—or maybe it was a proposal at the time… Jack, himself, isn’t even sure. He wasn’t supposed to actually give her the stone of Wonderland but it seemed like the perfect thing—the only thing—to do just then.
He wasn’t surprised when she declined, only disappointed. It wasn’t in her nature to be so impetuous; he should’ve known that, adventure or no, he never could’ve whisked Alice away to Wonderland at a moment’s notice. The ring spooked her, that much was clear, and it was back in his hand before he had blinked. She all but pushed him out of her front door, but Jack was ready for her commitment issues to turn her against him. Acting a bit impetuously himself, he slipped the ring into the pocket of her blue dress while giving her a goodbye hug.
When he left her apartment and was ambushed by a White Rabbit agent and a couple of Suits shortly after, Jack knew it really was a goodbye hug. He was caught and going home again. He didn’t know hurt worse: the punch to his gut, the realization that he had failed in his mission to bring Carpenter’s daughter to Wonderland or that he would never see Alice again. In that instant it was easy for him to forget that Carpenter’s long lost daughter and Alice were one in the same.
Then he was back in Wonderland and back to being Jack Heart again. After a quick stop inside the White Rabbit’s headquarters, it was into a Scarab and then off to his family’s blasted casino. His mother laughed and squawked and ordered him to cut that ridiculous mop of hair, to rinse out that terrible dark color that wasn’t the platinum blond she preferred her son to sport. The comfortable clothes from the other side of the Looking Glass were burned, his old familiar suit laid out for him in its place. Playtime was over, the gesture said. Time to grow up.
Ah, he had sneered inwardly, it was good to be home.
Ignoring his mother’s comments and questions, and ignoring Duchess as best he could in such close quarters, Jack was finally left locked in his room. This, of course, left him plenty of time to think. He didn’t understand what went wrong. Meeting Alice Hamilton in her world was only one part of the Resistance’s plan, of Caterpillar’s far-reaching ideas. When he fled to the other side, stealing the ring from his overbearing tyrant of a mother and queen, it was supposed to trigger a coup that would lead with her being removed from the throne.
It had been planned for weeks after his recruitment into the Resistance. The perfect opportunity to steal the ring, using his upcoming farce of a wedding to Duchess to disappear on a bachelor’s jaunt in the other world, training and learning how to fit in and convince Carpenter’s daughter that he was trustworthy… everything was planned, but nothing, it seemed, had gone according to plan.
His flight into the other world was supposed to trigger a coup—but it didn’t. The moment Agent White caught him outside Alice’s apartment, Jack knew something had gone wrong.
Dragged back through the Looking Glass, dragged back into his old life, Jack Chase became Jack Heart became the rebellious son trying his best to disguise himself behind a stoic expression and very little emotion.
In Wonderland, being emotional could be very dangerous. Whether real or simply manufactured by the Hearts Casino for instant gratification, Jack had spent enough time with Caterpillar at the Hospital of Dreams to think it wise to show any true feeling at all.
Which, he decides while standing apart from her in the Looking Glass room, was probably what sent Alice running into another man’s arms…
Jack Heart, prince and heir to the throne of Wonderland, was cold, aloof, royal. It wasn’t so much that he wanted to be that way—it was both expected and extremely necessary for him to hide his true thoughts and intentions. Blood may be thicker than water but Jack knew better than anyone what was at stake if his mother remained queen much longer. So he did what he had to, finding Alice and convincing her to fall for him using a charm he was free to wield in her world but never his own.
What he never expected was that he would fall for her in turn.
But, he wonders now, did he really love her? He has feelings for her, goodness yes, and just the memory of the near kiss between Alice and Hatter he witnessed in the Kingdom of the Knights is enough to make the pit of his stomach burn with jealousy, but did he truly love her?
Oh, he told her many times. Robotic recitations, he realizes now, flat words that did nothing to show her how much he cared. Yes, he said he loved her, but did he show her? Did he once, since she demonstrated her loyalty to him by chasing after him into Wonderland, did he once show her that he felt as strongly about her in return?
He thought he was protecting her when he lied about their relationship, lied about how she stole the ring rather than admitting the truth: that he gave her the ring before he was captured. He lied about who he was, who she was to him, and his intents when he was with her in her world. He used her to get to Carpenter, he used her for the greater good of Wonderland, but he used her all the same.
How in any way could she have taken those actions to mean he loved her?
Maybe, he muses, the sting of her rejection of his proposal still ringing in his ears, maybe it’s not that he loved Alice, but that he loved the idea of loving Alice. It was poetic, wasn’t it, to be a Resistance insider, one who went on a mission to return with a girl who could help dethrone the Queen of Hearts, to dethrone his mother, only to fall in love with her during his reconnaissance in her world. She was an oyster, she was an Alice, and wouldn’t it be wonderful for Wonderland to have her as a new queen?
Or maybe, he tells himself honestly, maybe he really does love her because, as he watches slyly at the awkward way Hatter and Alice say their goodbyes, he feels that terrible jealous burn again. Jack wishes he was in Hatter’s place—without, perhaps, the hat—wishes that Alice had invited him to follow her back into her world… that he could even follow her if given the chance. It’s easy to see that neither Alice nor Hatter wants to leave the other but they don’t actually say so; the words just aren’t there.
So they run around the subject, saying nothing really at all until Alice, with the dejected look he knows too well—he’ll never forget the way her face fell when Duchess walked into the room—heads straight to the Looking Glass. She’s the first of many oysters who’ll return, back from the land that vanished them, back to the world they belong now. It’s with a push and a shove and reminder to breathe and Alice… Alice is gone.
He must love her, Jack decides at last, because why else would he want her to be happy when she’s left him feeling so desolate? She’s gone through, she’s left him alone, but he has a kingdom to run, a world to save, and he’ll get over her in time. He’ll certainly be busy enough, even if he’ll never actually forget him. But Alice should be happy, she’s helped him and she’s lost her father in the process. She deserves happiness. She’s a hero in Wonderland, and he wants to do something to show his appreciation.
Because, even if she doubts his affection for her, Jack knows she went back through the Looking Glass with his heart in her possession…
He clears his throat as he approaches Alice’s Hatter. Alice should be happy, he knows, and this… this man is the one who will take care of her in a way that Jack was never able to.
Ignoring the startled and instantly distrustful expression as it snakes across Hatter’s face, Jack tells Hatter three distinct things: he tells Hatter where to find Alice; he tells Hatter where his apartment in Alice’s world is and makes sure to mention that he should take advantage of the clothes in the closet; and he tells Hatter that, more than anything, Alice loves red roses.
And then Jack Heart nods curtly at Hatter, knowing that he’d just helped the rogue make up his mind about following Alice through, and leaves, his entourage following in his wake. He’s the King of Hearts now and there’s plenty for him to do. But, as he leaves, he allows himself one fleeting sad smile. For now he knows that he did love Alice Hamilton.
He loved her enough to let her go.