Author's notes #1: As the story progresses elements of American McGee's Alice and Alice: Madness Returns will start appearing, with possibility for slight aspects of "Alice: Otherlands" or the TV show "Alice".

Author's notes #2: I am so sorry for how long this chapter took. I can blame it on life and sheer procrastination on my part. But truly I am sorry. I have been leaving readers wanting for… however long it's been since the first chapter. So please forgive me!

Author's notes #3: And my dear co-author had certainly earned his title as co-author! See if you can find his bit in the story!

Co-Author's Notes: You can also blame me… and blame Nightmare's computer. Also, the Spanish Inquisition; for we did not expect them. But mostly Nightmare's computer.

Harry wandered through the White Rose garden lost in thought. He wasn't mad! He wasn't!

"But then again… is it really such a bad thing?" A voice in the back of his head whispered, "After all the line between Genius and Madness is razor-thin at the best of times! Would it not be interesting to use that very line as a jump-rope?" The voice added with a cackle.

Harry shook his head and decided to simply… enjoy his surroundings. He may have hated how his Aunt and Uncle would loaded him down with a truly absurd amount of chores. But the one chore he enjoyed, though he never showed it as they'd make sure he'd never do it again, was gardening.

Honestly Harry was considering getting some tips from whoever planted this garden…

"Of course even if I did it would probably be mad ramblings like with the Hatter. Why is a Raven like a Writing desk indeed!" Harry thought rather frustrated with it all.

Honestly he thought going to Wonderland would be kinda cool! But when in fact it was turning into a bloody migraine! And now everyone is poking at his own sanity!

"I mean sure growing up with constant psychological and emotional abuse doesn't do much for one's rationality. But that doesn't mean I'm mad as a hatter!" Harry thought with a frown.

Harry was so lost in his thoughts that he didn't notice the Cheshire cat snuck up on him. The cat observed Harry for a few moment, finding itself rather bemused at just how… similar yet different he was from Alice. Well, the cat figured, stranger things have happened.

"Well, Alex, it appears that you are thinking in circles. Contemplating the same notion over and over again, that you are not mad, whilst expecting a different result; the very definition of that which you fight." Cheshire provided amusedly from behind the distracted young madman.

Harry spun around and glared at Cheshire, "Damn it you mangy cat! I'm not mad! I am in full control of my faculties!" Harry hissed his eyes gleaming madly though he loathed to term it that way.

"Oh Alex…" Cheshire started with mock-disappointment, "Why can't you just accept the truth of the matter? You're off your rocker. Bonkers. Stark raving mad. Mad as a Hatter. Seducing the Bandersnatch on a Tuesday. Dallying around with the Jubjub Birds. Praising the not-so-friendly Giant Mushroom. There's nothing wrong with it, if anything you just might finally find yourself at peace."

Harry just groaned annoyance and sat down on a bench and just massaged his temples. As much as Harry loathed to admit it, even to himself, the damn cat had a point. No one could grow up like he did and be well adjusted.

"Besides," the Cat continued, "it's only logical that a madman isn't in control of his mental faculties… and what self-respecting madman would possibly follow logic?"

Harry gave a chuckle, "So I should just… accept it then? The Dursley's beat me just because I'm unusual. If I start acting like a madman they'd either kill me or throw me in a insane asylum!" Harry said shaking his head, "But then again… an asylum would be a definite improvement actually." Harry thought with a bemused smirk.

"You're already mad, and obviously have been for a while… if you didn't act differently when you were mad, why would that change when you are also a madman?" The Cheshire Cat answered, "And why would said changes change anything? They are only change, it's not as though they are alterations."

"... I… think I understand what you're saying. Changes are Changes over time, like maturation. Alterations are instant changes, like suddenly having your personality become that of someone else's for no apparent reason or forewarning." Harry said, "... It's rather worrying that I actually understood your mad ramblings Cheshire." He added dryly.

"Only the sane can't understand my ramblings, and they are a dangerous and unpredictable bunch. A madman you can always trust to do something strange and/or unusual, but a sane man… you can never tell when they'll suddenly do something… unprecedented." The embodiment of madness stated with an oddly worried tone, "Promise me you won't consort with such beasts."

Harry started chuckling which evolved into full-blown belly laughter. Still laughing Harry nodded jerkily to Cheshire.

After a couple minutes Harry calmed down, "Oh… I haven't laughed like that in… ever really! I needed that!" Harry said his face red from laughing.

"Then perhaps you'd like to travel to Ævureeli to do so, if such is truly required as you say." Cheshire replied cheekily.

"Hmm… traveling around doesn't seem like a bad idea really. I'm not sure if this is just a very vivid dream or what… might as well enjoy it." Harry thought, "And… I assume you'd be my guide?" Harry asked aloud.

Cheshire grinned - seriously when doesn't he grin, Harry mused - and nodded. Rather eagerly at that… which confused Harry. In the books Cheshire wasn't the most… paws-on guide.

"I would love to, there are few places in Wonderland I have not been, and this Ævureeli place sounds interesting if they can harvest laughter as some form of medicine there… may I ask where such a realm lay?" The cat asked with sincere curiosity.

"Well. I suppose we could ask Alice couldn't we? But where's the fun in that hmm?" Harry said with a chuckle, "Besides there is so much to see here! I'm in no hurry."

"Ahh~," the Cat sighed contentedly, "Already you are speaking like a true madman. I do such awful work, and I love it."

Harry shook his head and disregarded the very valid point Cheshire made, "Well… where to first Chess?" Harry asked with a smile, "And it'll take me a while to come to terms with me being mad. After all I've grown up with an aunt and uncle with a borderline fanatical obsession with normality."

Chess, as Harry decided to call him, grimaced at the thought of anyone striving to be normal like that, "Quite, you have become wonderfully mad despite being raised by such savages. As to where to go, every-way sounds good; you need only walk and see where it'll take us."

With that decided Harry got up, "Well then… shall we go?" Harry paused before scratching his head sheepishly, "Umm… do you know the way out of this maze…?"

Cheshire grinned slightly maliciously, "Certainly, the way out is like this," and disappeared… without reappearing.

Harry stared blankly for a couple of moments before his face went red with rage! "GODDAMN YOU, YOU BLOODY BUGGERING MANGY FUR COAT!"

All that answered was an amused chuckle whispered on the wind.

Scene Break

In her room, as court had finally come to a close, Alice sat in front of her vanity brushing her hair.

She then heard Harry's rage and she giggled, her entire body shaking in mirth.

"Oh Chess… such an infuriatingly helpful thing you are!" She giggled before she refocused on brushing her hair.

Scene Break

Three. Bloody. Hours.

It took Harry three bloody hours to find the exit to that maze! Harry had half a mind to skin that bloody mangy cat but knew it would be an exercise in futility. Right now all he wanted was something to eat. And probably a good nap.

"Now… where can I get some food in this madhouse?" Harry muttered as he wandered around the castle.

As Harry wondered around the castle he couldn't help but think of Chess's words. Had he always been mad? Harry honestly couldn't think of a time when he came across the slightest bit mad in his life.

"But then again…" Harry muttered with dry amusement, "How could a madman tell if he's in fact mad? In all honesty, if the 'Normal Family' that is the Dursleys is any indication, I'm certainly not normal at the very least..."

In all honesty Harry simply wanted to put it out of his mind and carry on, but he kept coming back to Chess's overly convoluted and cryptic words. They really did make a lot of sense… and besides why should Harry care for the opinions of a group of… hmm…?

"What would be a good word to describe them?" Harry mused, "Animals would work… but that'd be insulting the actual animals of the world. Troglodytes perhaps? Meatsacks? No… Petunia is anything but a meatsack… honestly she's like an anorexic horse actually… hmm…"

Shaking his head Harry looked around for a card guard or someone that could point him towards the kitchen. Of course that might be an exercise in futility seeing as everyone in the land was mad but meh. Seeing a… fish in a butler uniform Harry decided to ask.

"Eh excuse me. Where's the kitchen?" Harry asked the slightest bit wary.

The fish looked at Harry before he pointed at the… sign above his head with a 'Kitchen through here' sign with an arrow pointing at the door he hadn't noticed until just now. Harry bit back his urge to start complaining and just nodded his head in thanks before he entered the kitchen.

The kitchen looked… well Harry wasn't sure what he was expecting really. He had been preparing himself to walk into a… well something that would've given him a migraine at least.

So seeing a rather orderly, if a bit odd, kitchen was rather surprising really…

Harry looked around curiously, "Um… hello?" He called out wondering if anyone was actually present.

"Oh? Hello deary!" An old woman (?) said but for the life of him Harry simply didn't see her, "Down here deary!"

Blinking Harry looked down. Well… technically he was right. It is an old woman. Or rather a fairy actually. She had snow white hair and wore a blue robe, and she had the expression that Harry liked to think his own grandmother would have on her face. A kind and pleasant smile on her face.

"Can I help you deary?" She asked as she fluttered up in front of his face before tisking, "You're frightfully thin deary. Have you been eating right? You look like old Skellington Jack!"

"Um… I was wondering if I could get something to eat?" Harry said with a small smile.

The old fairy smiled, "Of course deary! You just sit down and I'll whip you up something quick smart!" She said as she patted his cheek fondly.

Harry sat down at a simple table and watched as the fairy fluttered around the kitchen. It was actually a rather novel experience not having to make food for once.

"I see you've met with Miss Goodness…" Alice said from across from Harry making him jump slightly.

Harry looked at Alice, "Don't do that! You scared me!" He said clutching his chest, "When did you get here?"

"Oh… just now. I was feeling a mite peckish." Alice said with a smile, "I see the cat has calmed you down."

Harry nodded with a strange sort of exasperated yet fond smile, "Chess is the single most infuriatingly helpful being I've ever had the misfortune to meet." Harry said with a chuckle.

Alice giggled and nodded in agreement. Miss Goodness then put a large steaming plate of…? 'What is this anyway?' Harry thought.

"Why it's a happy meal!" Miss Goodness answered the unspoken question, "It's a meal made out of happiness!" She added with a smile. "And copious amounts of plastic 'cheese'…" She muttered, barely audible.

Harry blinked at that but dismissed it and took a bite. His eyes widened and he start eating faster, quickly devouring everything on the plate in minutes. After cleaning his plate Harry looked at Miss Goodness.

"Please, Ma'am, may I have some more?" Harry asked.

Miss Goodness smiled and nodded happily as she refilled Harry's plate.

Alice just giggled as Harry ate more of Miss Goodness' happy meals.

"So tell me Harry." Alice asked curiously, "What do you and Chess plan on doing?"

Harry wiped his mouth with a napkin and took a drink of… water Harry figured, and looked at Alice, "Eh just explore really. Go where our feet lead us. It'd be boring to ask for directions after all." Harry said.

"Spoken like a true madman! I bet Chess was bursting with pride when you said that!" Alice said giggling. Her giggling turned to full-blown laughter when Harry nodded.

Harry eventually joined Alice in her laughter, Miss Goodness just smiled as she watched the young Madman and the Red Queen.

"I think the young Madman will do the Red Queen some good." Miss Goodness thought, "Maybe he could put a smile on the White Queen's face? … Doubtful, seeing as she came into being with a perpetual frown on her face..."

Shaking her head in amusement Miss Goodness simply served Harry another Happy meal with a smile, too, on her face.

After a couple of hours of eating Happy Meals a pleasantly full, and what a novel sensation that is Harry mused, madman was lead out of the kitchen by a smiling Alice.

"Come on. Let's find you a room so you can get some sleep." Alice said with a giggle.

"Mmm hmm…" Harry said simply, he was already half asleep. If Alice left him alone he would've slept in the kitchen!

Alice smiled and guided the young madman to the guest wing of the castle, passing by various Card guards and staff members as she did so. After a few more minutes and taking a detour through a dungeon they reached the guest quarters.

"Let's get you in bed." The child-queen said with a smile, "You got a big adventure with Chess tomorrow after all!"

Harry mumbled some words before he staggered to the bed and simply fell onto it face first. Alice giggled before she left him where he laid.

Before Harry fell asleep he couldn't help but think, "Best… dream… ever…"

Looking at Harry for a few more seconds, Alice giggled before she skipped off to her own chambers where Chess was waiting. He said he wanted to talk about something with her.

"Probably about his new mad ward." She thought with a giggle as she skipped along to her room.

After another couple of minutes, this time with a detour through a sewer, a butchery, a gingerbread house, and a quick doubleback to avoid an evil partridge in a pear tree with hand grenades; Alice finally got to her room and entered.

"So what were you wanting to talk about, Chess?" Alice asked with a smile.

"Well, Alice, something rather interesting seemed to happen when I agreed to be Alex's guide earlier…" The infuriating cat answered, "I was hoping you could elaborate an answer as to what it was, or at the very least confuse me further about it."

Alice giggled, "Okay. What perplexes you, you infuriating mangy feline?" She asked with a smile.

"It was a most maddening thing, and in that I wholeheartedly approve, but when he asked me to guide him there was some sort of… connection… that appeared between us… and I hardy mean something and quaint as empathy." Chess elaborated, "Even now, something compels me to return to his side… it's quite interesting."

"Hmm… well I can't make heads or tails, or even torso of it Chess…" Alice said, "Maybe it's magic? Or maybe it is that you found yourself attached to Harry like you were with me?"

"Magic, perhaps, but even we are not certain as to if it truly exists or not… Wonderland simply hasn't spread far enough yet. All we know are from the vague minds of Alex's pet savages, and they aren't nearly mad enough to be reputable sources of information. As for my attachment to you, we both know that never truly happened; so how could it possibly compare? … This connection is truly maddening, it's making me logical of all things! Me!" Cheshire shuddered, "Not to mention this… bond's… pull on my mind seems to get stronger the longer we are apart. I can only wonder what would happen should it be let to reach a crescendo!"

"Well… ain't that sweet? The embodiment of madness being all logical!~" Alice cooed with a giggle, "It will provide you the most infuriatingly enjoyable mystery I would think!" She added with a smile

Chess had a worried and thoughtful look upon his face… which is actually more disturbing than his grin somehow, "I'm concerned… if an embodiment goes against its very nature, would it cease to be, or would it evolve into something… else…?" He asked with a yawn.

Alice looked slightly perplexed, "Chess… I think that's the first time I've ever seen you yawn… are you even capable of getting tired?"

"No, Alice… I'm not… supposed to get tired at all… this connection… truly… is… mad… den… ing…" Cheshire trailed off before passing out.

"Chess…? Are… are you alright? Chess!?" Alice asked with a shaky and scared tone, as Cheshire's body seemed to shrivel and become skeletal before her, his colors muted.

Cheshire gave a rattling sigh as he disappeared similar to how he normally does.

"Chess? [b]Chess[/b]!? [B]CHESS[/B]!?" Alice screamed, as a frog butler entered her room.

"Yes, My Queen, would you like to play white or black?" the butler asked, setting up a chess board.

"ARRRRRRGH!?" Alice screamed in exasperated frustration at the butler.

He did not so much as blink as he calmly said "Yes My Queen, you shall play black. Excellent choice."

Harry jerked awake and moaned in pain, "Wha…?" He groaned as he opened his eyes.

And found himself in a familiar cramped space. Harry groaned and stretched slightly, wincing as stiff newly-healed muscles and bones moved for the first time in hours. Giving a small yawn, Harry relaxed.

"So… it was all just a dream?" Harry muttered to himself.

"Curiouser and curiouser, as you like to say," A smooth baritone spoke from above him, "I did not think I'd be dragged out here to this world with you…"

Harry blinked and shifted around ignoring his body's protest and found him face to face with a very… different looking Chess. He was now a grey, skeletal feline with an abnormally large head, tribal markings replacing the stripes in his fur, his ears missing random chunks with an earring piercing the right one, piercing yellow eyes, a tail with a tuft of longer fur at the end, and his signature grin splitting his head in half with large blood-stained teeth. (Just image search "Cheshire Madness Returns", and you'll know exactly what he looks like now)

"What the bloody hell happened to you!?" Harry asked clearly bewildered, "You look like something out of a ruddy nightmare!"

"Yes, thank you. I was rather proud of my plump gait and luscious purple fur… I do not know why I look like this now, but I will simply have to make due. At the very least, my meals should die in fright when I smile at them now!" the Cheshire said exasperatedly, before flashing a smile at Harry that looked positively demonic.

"Bloody hell you look like something that crawled out how a horror story!" Harry said, "... Wanna terrorize Dudley?"

"Not even a spare thought as to how I'm in your reality… you're fast becoming a madman to be proud of my dear Alex!" Chess stated proudly, "So, as a reward… I'll sit on your shoulder, and will only scare your cousin if you manage to get out of this half-rotten wooden prison you call your room. Got to give you some motivation, do I not?" he said with a cheeky tone.

"Oh, I'm wondering; but I figured it wasn't really important." Harry said with a shrug and he looked at the door in thought.

He could just kick open the door, like Chess said it was half-rotten. Though that'd be too straightforward and boring. Looking around he started digging around in some of the junk that was thrown in here.

"Hmm… ah ha!" Harry said in triumph as he pulled out a screw driver!

Grinning Harry moved over to the door and tested it first. Pushing on it he found it was locked up, honestly he could've been nothing but a corpse and they'd still lock the ruddy door. Snorting in amusement he instead found the hinges of the doors.

It would seem that he was in luck! The screws were the same as his screw driver! With a grin Harry went to unscrewing the hinges, humming this odd discordant tune that just came to him.

Chess watched the young madman with a proud grin, it would've been so easy just to kick the door open. But he was thinking outside the box! That's what Chess was hoping for! Maybe this connection works both ways, Chess becoming more logical, and Harry more mad? Nah, that's crazy-talk, and thus obviously true. If he just kicked open the door that would've been boring and expected! Even if undoing the hinges is only slightly better, but it's a start!

"Stupid… ruddy… screws!" Harry muttered as he worked on finishing the first hinge, absentmindedly thinking to just kick the door and get it over with. But then again that'd draw some unwanted attention and honestly… this was more fun! He felt like he was in a spy novel or something!

After another few minutes, maybe ten, Harry unscrewed all the hinges and grabbed the door. He then carefully slid the door until it popped out. Sliding it to the side Harry climbed out and looked around. It was dark, it was midnight at the very least.

Giving another look around Harry made a beeline straight to the kitchen. His stomach demanded sustenance! Opening the fridge Harry pulled out a large ham and a bowl of mashed potatoes, after he put those on the table he went back to get the bowl of brown gravy.

His stomach growled and he got a plate; Aunt Petunia's fine china. Why the fine china that Harry had to clean obsessively despite it was never used to eat and is only used as a decoration? Because Harry was feeling very spiteful over his near-death experience that's why!

Harry started piling on ham, potatoes, and gravy on to his plate. If Chess wanted any he was free to get whatever he wanted. Grabbing a fork out of the silverware drawer Harry sat down and started eating not caring in the slightest if it was cold so strong was his hunger!

Cheshire began to drink the gravy after mumbling something about keeping his figure.

Harry snorted, "Chess you could stand to put on a couple pounds." He snarked, "Not sure if you've looked in a mirror but you look like a feline Jack Skellington."

"I'll have you know that Ol' Jack was considered quite handsome by many," Chess retorted haughtily, "And it is impossible for me to be anything but the height of attractiveness, my reputation demands it!"

"Yeah… but you have something he doesn't have." Harry said dryly

"I'm a Cunning Linguist and a Master Debater?" Chess replied with a strange mix snark and pride.

"Unlike him… you still have skin," Harry finished with a huff.

"Oh, yes, that too. Can't experience all the right pleasures without it!" Cheshire said with an 'I know something you don't know' smirk.

Harry gave a slightly confused snort and just focused on feeding his belly!

"Why do I feel like I might get sued?" Harry thought blinking in confusion, "Oh, right; I have a disney-copyrighted character following me around…"

Shaking his head he looked at Chess, "You know you can have some ham if you like." Harry offered, "You look like you needs some meat on your bones anyway."

"Too right, can't have myself getting eaten and disappointing the poor predator!" Chess declared before beginning to nibble on his ham.

"... Rrrriiiiigggggghhhhhhhtttttt…" Harry drawled before he focused on his food.

… Why is Chess so bloody odd? Oh yeah… madcat…

Unfortunately, their conversation drowned out the stalking steps of the elusive 'Gossipinus Giraffinus' as she slowly came across her prey, and prepared her wailing cry of dominance upon them.


"... Bloody hell…" Harry muttered. "This isn't good… yet somehow, I can't seem to bring myself to care."

Harry sighed stabbed his fork into a big pile of ham and looked at his aunt with a perfect deadpan, "Nice to know you cleaned up after you and that walrus of a husband nearly beat me to death…" He said dryly, "I wonder if all normal people beat family like you do?" He snarked.

"You… how dare you! You're just a freak, just like my sister! You have no right to insinuate such things about us you damned freak! We feed you, and give you a roof over your head you damned freeloader!" Petunia used Roar, it's not very effective.

"Freak, freak, freak… is that all your 'normal sized' *pfft-* brain can come up with as an insult? And freeloader? I do all the damned housework around here, barely get fed, get beaten for any reason you and your walrus of a husband can come up with, and get shoved into a freaking cupboard every night! I'm not a freeloader, I'm your bloody fucking slave! And surely even you realize that 'Normal People' don't keep slaves, let alone child-slaves that are blood-related to them!" Harry ranted as he was on a roll, one that was disappointingly lacking in cinnamon or butter, but a roll none-the-less!

"Wha- that's- how dare you!" Petunia spluttered, flabbergasted. The freak never showed this much backbone before! Wait… "What's that disgusting animal doing on the table!? Shoo!" She made a swatting-gesture at Chess.

Harry made a point to swallow all the food in his mouth, he knew this was gonna be good.

"I must say," Chess said in mock amazed-sounding baritone to a shocked Petunia, "I have never in my life seen a savage beast such as that actually acknowledge that they are disgusting creatures and then tell themselves to shoo… perhaps there is more madness to them than I initially thought?" he said thoughtfully.

"I meant you you freak of nature! You're from that place aren't you, that's the only explanation! LEAVE YOU FREAK! LEAVE AND NEVER COME BACK!" Petunia shrieked in rage! She was so loud Vernon and Dudley's snoring actually halted for a split second.

"Hmm? 'That place' you say? And what place is that, for you have painted me most intrigued!" Cheshire asked interestedly.

"You know bloody damn well what I mean! All you freaks come from that 'Pigpimples' place, don't you!?" Petunia growled like a cornered animal.

"Pigpimples? Someone actually named a place 'Pigpimples'...?" Harry asked flabbergasted.

"Yes, Boy, and Vernon and I vowed to never let you go there, that we'd stamp out your freakishness before the time came!" Petunia spat.

"So… there's a place with more 'freaks' like me, that I may go to in the future, and thus possibly not see you ever again… and you want to stop me from going…?" Harry asked, surprised.

"I- I- I… Clean that plate 15 times when you're done, it needs to be spotless! … I need to think…" Petunia then walked off distractedly, with a confused curl on her brow.

"Well, Alex… I must say; madness is quite becoming of you. Just look at how easily you got information out of that unintelligent beast, and got it to leave you alone!" the Cheshire cat exclaimed excitedly.

"... Did… did that really just happen…? Well, either that or I've finally snapped and this is a hallucination… which is far more likely actually… Oh well, better just have fun then!" Harry decided, and went back to his food happily.