For Aoi Liddle who requested this. Sorry it took so long.

Disclaimer; In a world beyond my imagination, I do not own HnKnA and all its wonderful bishies and characters.

Captive Hearts

Joker x Alice

Her surroundings were heavily forested, blocking any remnants of waning sunlight. Chills ran down the length of Alice Liddell's spine, increasing in ferocity the longer she walked through the forest's depths.

She had never gotten this lost at such an ungodly hour.

But here she was, swallowed by the disturbing sensation of solitude, hyperaware of each shifting shadow.

At first, Joker's forest held a certain fascination and entranced her with its whimsicality of toys and balloons.

Now the inanimate objects seemed to sit ominously in the darkness, as if waiting for the chance to wind back to life and pounce. The balloons seemed like phantasmal wraiths, floating in the deep, growing darkness.

With her arms tightly wrapped around her chilled skin, Alice forced herself to keep walking.

How much longer must this journey last? All she desired at that moment was a sense of safety, security, some sort of light.

Wandering around Wonderland was not wise, that she knew. She learned that there were always dangers lurking in places she would never expect…

Then there was a rustle.

Alice paused in her place, green orbs fixated on a shrub. Emerald foliage rustled underneath the disappearing light. Fear slowly percolated through her body, casting goosebumps along her flesh. Her eyes widened. She lost all will to move. All she could do was wait.

A creature leapt out of the brush, emerging itself from the darkness.

Alice lost all breath to scream. Now she just laughed.

A tiny ball of fur scampered from the undergrowth, its innocent chipmunk eyes looking up at her.

'Calm down, Alice. You're getting so paranoid. You're actually getting scared of a chipmunk.'

Alice forced herself to laugh, using it more to rid her of her inner turmoil rather than a release of the mere absurdity of her actions.

The chipmunk suddenly jerked away from her, scrambling back into the forest. The foreigner thought the little animal was wise, deliberating to follow its lead. Turning around on her heel, the brunette quietly began walking forward, assuring herself there was nothing in the forest that could frighten her… nothing at all.

Or at least that's what she told herself.

Nothing could have prevented her from screaming when her green eyes came into contact with a single blood red orb. Her hands clutched her chest, feeling her heart nearly stop in fright.

"Oh my! Alice, you surely do have a set of lungs," a familiar voice noted, chuckling at the thought. The rising moon slowly ghosted over this figure's appearance, extricating him from the darkness. Alice finally recognized him.

"J… Joker?" she choked out in surprise, her heart slowly beating at a more even pace.

The red-haired clown smiled and said, "Yours truly. My apologies for frightening you."

She merely nodded her head in acceptance, blurting out in a breathy voice, "W…what are you doing here?"

"Well, this is my forest during the April season," replied Joker. "I should be asking why you are here. It's late after all. You should be asleep."

Alice refused to utter a word, far too embarrassed to admit it.

"Did little Alice get lost?"

With a loud harrumph, the Liddell tossed her head aside and turned her gaze away. She did have her pride to maintain.

Joker's laughter temporarily filled the forest air before everything fell into an eerie silence.

Tremors threatened to erupt through her spine, race down her flesh. One would have thought having another body present would provide Alice comfort, especially considering her current disposition.

Yes, Alice would feel perfectly fine… if it was anyone, but Joker.

Sure at first, the circus ringmaster struck her as a sort of strange, but tolerable person. As the days progressed and she got to know him better, there was more to the clown than what met the eye… something that struck her heart with a sense of fear.

Suddenly her vision blurred into a deep gray.

'What the…?' Alice frantically blinked her eyes. The scene reverted back to the usual forest for a brief moment before melting into stone and iron bars.

The foreigner had been to this place multiple times prior. At first, she thought she was just delusional, her tired eyes playing tricks on her. Then Alice realized everything was real – the stone flooring beneath her feet, the disconcerting sight of Joker in his prison uniform…

"Alice?" Then she was back in the forest. The cold stone was replaced with dirt. Nature filled her nostrils and greenery returned in her line of vision. Blinking her eyes once, Alice slowly turned her head. Joker's forehead was creased with slight worry lines, his eye watching her in concerned curiosity. "Are you alright? Are you cold? Perhaps you could stay at my circus for a little while. Then once the sun's out, you could walk back."

"I… I thank you for the kind offer," the brunette said politely, resisting the intrinsic urge to run, "But I think I could find my way back. I should really get going before it gets too dark."

Just as Alice turned on her heels, ready to dash out as fast as she could, she yelped. A hand firmly wrapped itself around her wrist, crushing it in his cold, iron grasp. She futilely trying pulling herself free, but all her attempts proved hopelessly useless.

"What's the rush?" Under the moonlight, the young foreigner could perceive that grin on his face, the dangerous glint in his single eye. Alice exhaled a sharp breath when Joker suddenly dragged her in close. "My dear, the fun… is only beginning."

Her head suddenly became light as her surroundings flashed, flickering between the natural greenery and the surrounding of hard stone. Then everything became disturbingly still. Alice heard absolutely nothing. The air was void of rustling leaves, the occasional sound of wildlife. All she could hear was her own breathing echo all throughout the stone walls.

"Welcome to the prison, Alice." Chills raced down her skin, the hairs of her ear pricking when Joker whispered into her ear.

Alice slipped out of his hand and stumbled back, holding her ear with her hand. Her green orbs darted around her surroundings, blinking her eyes violently in hopes to break herself free and return to the forest.

No matter how many times she blinked or shook her head, the image of the prison remained.

The overhead lights illuminated through the general dankness, causing the metal bars to glint and flash underneath the fluorescence. Toys of varying shapes and sizes lay abandoned on the stone floor, their surfaces dull and damaged.

She didn't want to be here. Alice did not want to be here. Not after the last time she visited. Not after how frightening Joker seemed.

"Alice, what's the matter? Is everything alright?"

The foreigner slowly turned her head. Joker stood directly before her, garbed in his prison uniform, that smile still on his lips. The whip tapped melodically against his sleeve, resounding against the general solitude of the penitentiary.

The brunette lacked enough air to speak. She only responded with a sharp breath, desperately trying to replenish her empty lungs. Her mind felt clouded, dizzy. The lights above her seemed blinding. An annoying tapping noise sounded in her ears, pounding against her throbbing brain.

Suddenly, her eyes started playing tricks on her, creating a replica of the red-haired clown. She tried to blink the illusion away, but instead the figure seemed to solidify and come into focus.

The sound of tapping granite ceased. One of the Joker lookalikes crossed his arms over his broad chest, his scowl deepening as he regarded her form.

The fogginess lifted from her mind like a confusing haze, replaced by a sense of clarity.

"Joker, is the foreigner mentally sound or was she always this ditzy?" the scowling Joker asked, turning an impassive red orb to his smiling lookalike.

"I'm not sure, but I do find it rather amusing."

The dizziness momentarily left her, allowing her enough air to speak. "J… Joker?"

The two figures turned to face her, articulating in perfect unison, "Yes?"

Her heart throbbed painfully against her chest, her breath bordering over erratic. 'Black and White Joker…'

"W… why am I here, Joker?"

The circus clown she knew as White Joker smiled and said with inordinate sweetness, "I offered you a place to stay for a little while, did I not? Well, here you are!"

'But I never agreed to anything, let alone agree to go to the prison…'

"What? That's the reason why you were gone so long? While I been busting my friggin' ass here trying to apprehend our runaway?" The prison warden known as Black Joker growled, snapping his whip against the stone walls. "You got to be friggin' kidding me!"

As his circus counterpart nodded his head and smiled at him, Black Joker irately slammed his boot down onto one of the tin toys, contorting its rigid, metal body into unrecognizable shapes. She cringed at the sight, her mind evoking some of her earlier encounters with Black Joker. Even now she couldn't help, but wonder if they ever treated their prisoners with equal ferocity.

"Calm down! This is nothing you should get mad about!" White assured, his voice still light and cheery. "I've been telling you the task isn't hard. You just have to stay alert and have an open mind, Joker."

"Then why don't I head out for a little bit while you try to catch this damn person yourself?"

"Actually your absence is not necessary. I can catch this person even while you're here. Speaking of the devil… here is our little jail breaker now." Both clowns looked towards Alice's general direction, studying something resonating behind her.

The sound of smattering feet finally registered in her mind, toppling her down when it pushed its way passed her. The fall first disoriented her, but she quickly recollected herself.

The figure that bumped into her was one of the prisoners, his face concealed with a large, macabre bear mask. Now the prisoner lay pinned to the ground, Joker sitting imperiously on his back.

"Now see? Was that so hard to do?" the circus clown said blithely, grinning at his counterpart.

The prison warden merely scoffed in response, glaring both at their prisoner and at the clown.

White lowered his gaze down to his captive, saying in a disturbingly light voice, "Now that was very rude of you. How dare you knock down one of our guests? You could have severely hurt her."

"And lookie here! I'm still mad that you made me run around this friggin' place just to get you. It was so damn annoying. I bet you know what happens when I get annoyed." Black Joker stepped forward, cracking his whip against the prison walls. "Looks like we get to teach the little bastard a lesson for trying to escape…"

Alice gasped, watching as both Jokers raised their whips, ready to strike the person down as punishment.

She shouted, "No, stop! Don't hurt him!"

Both Jokers stopped midway, turning to face the foreigner.

The prison Joker narrowed his eye to a deep glare, growling, "Why the hell not? This damn prisoner made me waste my time trying to catch him. He deserves to…"

"Now, Joker, the young lady is right. Perhaps we shouldn't discipline him in her presence. That would be even ruder. Why don't you escort the fellow back to his cell?" Their gazes locked, warm crimson meeting cold red.

Black Joker scoffed in consent, grabbing his prisoner roughly up by the collar once White returned to his feet. The two figures exchanged a singular glance before Black Joker dragged the prisoner away, disappearing off into the darkness.

"Alice, are you alright?"

The young Liddell intrinsically scooted back once Joker knelt down by her side. She barely had any breath to say a word, lost all will to move her lips to form a simple response.

Joker tilted his head in curiosity. "Ah… I'm so very sorry. Did I frighten you again? I never meant to do such a thing. I just didn't like someone else touching and harming you in anyway."

The red-haired clown ventured closer. She pushed herself back once again.

"You are my prisoner, Alice… and I certainly don't appreciate anyone laying a hand on you." Joker drew nearer still. The foreigner pressed her back against the cold stone, feeling droplets of cold sweat form on the back of her neck. Despite that smile on his face, his visible eye seemed to hold something dark, dangerous… and another emotion she failed to identify.

She swallowed a large lump in her throat, her voice coming out in a nervous whisper. "Y… you're scaring me."

The brunette froze in her place when Joker placed a hand on her cheek, his cold flesh chilling the rising heat in her face.

"It seems I've rather unsuccessful in comforting you. No matter what I do, I seem to scare you more. Oh dear… perhaps it would be best if you just punish me, Alice."

"H… huh?" she squeaked out, her heart hammering nervously against her chest.

The clown simply smiled. "Perhaps, if I persist to frighten you, perhaps you should punish me for my behavior." He pressed his body against hers, caging her with his arms. His face was only a few breaths away from hers. "If what I'm feeling now is a sin, then punish me by kisses. If what I'm feeling now is a crime, then I want to be your victim."

"But… what are you feeling now?" Alice asked, her voice escaping her in a breathy whisper.

Joker just smiled, leaning in to close what little distance remained between them. "What do you think?"

Soon his mouth captured hers, his cold lips freezing her hot skin.

She knew she should break free, escape from his grasp, run away. He was dangerous, a role holder she knew she should stay away from.

At that moment, she could not even think properly. She felt entranced by his touch, the feel of his lips over hers, his mere presence. She felt completely helpless, rendered weak from this overwhelming fear… and this dark desire.

Suddenly, her vision grew dark, her head light and dizzy. She could barely breathe.

"Sleep, Alice… Sleep…" Joker crooned sweetly in her ear, his breath warm and sweet.

Then everything gave way to total darkness.


When Alice opened her eyes, she awoke to a world full of blinding color.

The ceiling rose high above her head, tinted a bright scarlet red. There was a consistent chatter of voices. Colorful performers darted this way and that, carrying and placing props in their appropriate spots.

It took Alice a few moments to come to the realization that she was no longer in the prison.

'This is the circus...'

"Ah! You finally woke up!" The outsider slowly rotated her head, watching as a familiar looking clown made his way across the ring towards her. "I hope you have a nice sleep. You must have been very tired last night because you knocked out!"

For a moment, Alice was in a complete daze, staring at the smiling ringmaster in a state reminiscent to disbelief. She sat herself up to a proper sitting position, seeing that was lying on the circus bench with a blanket placed over her.

How in the world did she get there?

Soon, her senses grew more acute. She remembered.

"Say, are you alright? You're still not sleepy, are you?" The brunette snapped her head up, seeing Joker stand right over her, eyeing her with worried curiosity.

How could he be so casual and laidback? It was like whatever happened last night never happened. Like he never even brought her to his prison. Like he never kissed her with such intensity that it made her lose all her breath.

Before she could say a word, the thunderous cacophony of a gunfire burst through the distant air.

"Tell me where my Alice is right now! I know she's here! Don't you dare lie to me!"

"Oh, how troublesome. It seems that annoying, trigger-happy White Rabbit finally made his way to my circus," Joker noted absently, locking his wine red orbs with her green ones. "Well, would you like to go now? I did promise to release you once morning rises. I bet Peter White and the others must be quite worried about you."

Alice did not move immediately, finding herself just staring at him. Was he serious? Before he could change his mind, she quickly stood to her feet and scrambled out, ignoring this warmth unfurling in her chest, the rapidity of her heart, this strange annoying emotion plaguing her mind…

Meanwhile, the ringmaster sat himself on the bench, watching the foreigner escape right through his fingers.

"Oi, Joker, why did you do that? Why didn't you just capture the girl when you had the chance?" the mask interjected from his waist.

"It's simply the principle of the thing," he replied simply, intertwining his arms over his chest. "It wouldn't be exactly fun if we just took her."

Joker watched as the brunette paused at the mouth of his circus, stare at him with those bright jade eyes before finally returning to the outside world. His lips quirked into a grin.

"You see, my dear friend, I hold her heart captive in my hand. Only I am able to manipulate her feelings, misconstrue those emotions she holds in her fragile heart. I want to lure her to us, have her submit by her own accord, break her into surrender, tempt her into coming back over and over again before staying permanently by our side."

That was why Joker let her go. He could suffer without her presence… for a little while that is.

A/N Notes: Phew! Not sure how well I did on the whole 'dark' theme, but I tried, neh?

But I hope I did alright with your request and you enjoyed it.

Thanks for reading~