Hi there! This is my second fanfiction in "The Hearts" Project which you can see in my profile! The first was Julius in Solitary Hearts so if you like my writing, be sure to read that too! If not then, oh well, like all of us here, my stories are meant to satisfy my HnKnA obsession and if possible, yours :)

I'm an Ace fan so writing about the charming and psychotic knight is a must! ^.^ And if it isn't obvious enought...

Disclaimer: I do not own anything HnKnA except for my ideas and story T.T


(Ace&Alice)

-The Wandering Heart-

Chapter 1: The Man behind the Mask

Red.

A hue so deep and dark you could almost visualize those velvet rose petals. So beautifully perfect, yet so glaring and harsh it hurts his eye. How he hated that color. And as if it wasn't enough that he had to live in a Castle that practically worshipped it, he's entire life and being had to be painted in it too. Literally.

Ace swung his bloodied weapon over and rested it on his shoulder, his humorless ruby eyes gazed out from behind the flimsy façade of a silver mask, surveying the three faceless assassins that lay in their own dark pool on the leaf littered forest floor. He then turned to the five men still standing before him. Oh well, he'll have to change that soon enough.

That thought alone played a sinister smile on his lips, making his opponents flinch. Oh yes, he could smell it now, the intoxicating scent of fear emanating from a prey that recognized a futile situation when it sees one. Accompanying the stale blood on his ragged cloak, the combination was like a drugged aroma to Ace, his body now pumped with adrenaline that wouldn't be going away soon. Might as well enjoy it while he can then, no? Even as his eyes were fixed on his targets in front for any sudden change in body language, his other hyper-alert senses flared out to scan the perimeter, his ears picking up a slight unnatural rustling of leaves that gave the hidden accomplice away. 33 degrees northeast, distance 20 feet and 4 feet above ground, he analyzed, frowning a little. Just one?

"It's not enough."

The faceless stared at him incredulously as Ace's low voice broke the silence, but he soon turned the corners of his lips up once again. "It's no fun when you're playing by yourself you know," he taunted, swinging his heavy, one-of-a-kind claymore-like longsword in front of their now red faces and motioning it from side to side with ease like a bored little kid. They began to fidget nervously, the tension in the air increased. He liked that. "What are you all waiting for? An invitation?" he asked, grinning as if they were just discussing the matter of death over scones and tea.

"D-Damn you! Don't belittle us you bastard!" yelled the supposed leader of the gang as he gestured his comrades to disperse in a circle before attacking the cloaked figure from all angles. Ace cocked his head to the left as a combat knife slices close to his right ear from behind. He grabs the approaching arm with his left hand and pulls the assailant over as he swings his sword outwards with his right, effectively severing the man in half.

Six.

Instantly, Ace reverses his upright grip on the handle, turning and plunging the sword from under his arms, through his cloak and into another assassin who decided to take advantage of his exposed back and had charged with a gladius, automatically impaling himself on Ace's longer sword before he could bring his shorter one down on the man.

Five.

Ace pulls out and raises his sword in the nick of time as heavy chains hit and wound round his blade, catching at the hilt. He grabs the remaining length with his free hand and, in a single pull, reeled in the man attached at the end with so much force the guy stumbled forward, only to have his nose broken as it came in contact with the sword's pommel, followed by a spine-shattering kick in the back.

Four.

.44 Magnum bullets started flying at him from his left and right. Fluidly twisting his body, Ace throws his sword out in a calculated momentum that sends the leftover coiled chains out of the blade and smashing right into the shocked face of an assault rifle holder, breaking the man's skull, even as he began to crouch low and dashes in the opposite direction, headstrong towards the other user while deflecting bullets with the flat of his sword flawlessly before thrusting the steel into the assassin's stomach.

Three, two, and not forgetting

He stood and straightened his posture, hoisting his sword, now turned gun, and with a sniper's accuracy, shot a single shot towards the treetops and the scout who was hiding fell from his perch with a loud thump, clutching his injured thigh.

Technically, he wasn't supposed to kill the scout since the man did not attack. I guess Julius won't mind just one more clock, he thought to himself unapologetically as he reverts the smoking barrel back into a sharp and clean, gleaming tip while stalking the desperately scrambling figure. "Didn't I say you've got to do better than that to kill me?" he told the guy, a smirk plastered on his blood-splattered face. He inverts his hold on the sword's coiled leather grip and lets the pointed edge dangle over his wide-eyed victim. "Well then, till we meet next time…" and with that, Ace raises it before stabbing down deeply, feeling his prey struggle as his life essence slowly drained away.

Was he satisfied? No… but this sort of second-rated exercise will have to do for now. Black shadows started to shimmer all around him. About time, he thought as he watched the Afterimages touch the corpses, the flesh and blood disappearing before they retrieved the silent clocks that remained. He gave them a nod which they acknowledged, fading off again to deliver the goods. If only I could disappear that easily as well, he allowed himself the possibility though he knew no one was strong enough to bring him down. How he yearned for such a challenge.

It was a dirty job, but one that allowed him to feel the boundaries of his role blurring even for a few measly minutes. To truly feel alive the way he wanted to not just because he was the Knave of Hearts. He sheathed his longsword into its scabbard and was about to find his bearings to head to the Clock Tower when he heard one... no... two voices in a distance, judging it to be about 42 degrees from him, 20 feet away and moving eastward.

"Hmmm… it's Mr. Kittycat and Alice," he thought aloud as he began to find his way towards them, his ears straining to follow the direction of Alice's higher and melodious pitch.

Her heart. He was reminded of that sweet and soothing beat that resonated from her chest. The only other thing in this world he ever longed for but could not have. He mused cynically as he touched his own chest, feeling the damned ticking of his own existence. The sound of Boris and Alice's laughter snaps him out of his thoughts and bringing him back on their trail.

Everyone loves Alice.

The foreigner had even managed to change Julius and the Hatter when everyone else had thought impossible. Was it because she was different from them? Even presuming that she does have that kind of power, then what about Ace? Me loving Alice? A laughable thought, though confusion soon pulled his brows together. Why didn't she change me like everyone else? He have always tried to alter this predetermined life of his but failed, so why should Alice make a difference now? I don't love her, and neither does she love me, could that be why? He recalled his failed attempt to kiss the girl, thinking that that was all it took to for a change to occur. Doesn't one kiss if they love another? But if that wasn't love, as Alice said, then what is? How does one fall in love? And how would you know when it happened? It then occurred to him; did he actually want her to love him?

Being confused was an understatement. He felt lost… again. Having no answers at all to all the questions blossoming in his head, he could feel the empty and dark chasm growing inside him, threatening to engulf the meaning of his life when he had none to begin with. It was uncomfortable. He had almost hope to kill again just for the sake of feeling something… anything.

Alice…

He wanted to bury himself in the comfort of her embrace, away from the chaos of his mind and to drown in the rhythmic pounding of her heart. No, deeper than that, he wanted… needed… to be in her very vein and blood. He could hear the crunching of their footsteps now, their voices growing louder and echoing in the dense forest.

Alice, Alice, Alice… Sweet, innocent and naive Alice…

He wonders how it would feel like to love someone like Alice to death. Finally, he caught a glimpse of purple fur and a certain brown-haired foreigner with locks that glittered like gold in the sun. Ace smiled to himself, his clock ticking faster in anticipation, as he begins to stalk the unsuspecting couple...


Oh no! He's stalking her! What will happen to Alice and what will Ace do? Find out next chapter! There's not much love going on now since it's still introductory but I assure you that there will be more in store of the pair!

Hope you enjoyed it! It was an attempt to live in Ace's mind . I always try to capture the character's POV accurately but if you feel it's not accurate or OOC or if you have any suggestion just let me know and we'll discuss!

DO REVIEW if you like it and want it to continue and thank you for reading!